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30 May 2013

30/5/13 - good intentions...

After working until midnight last night, I had good intentions to get up at 8am and to do some mountain bike riding at Tolosa MTB park or Clarence/Belbins area.  The result - after not setting any alarms - was that I woke up at 2pm with no idea what time it was.

I only had time for a quick breakfast/lunch/afternoon tea before heading off for Thursday kayak training.

After the pain of 'un-fitness' at the New Norfolk race I was mentally preparing myself to hurt more in training to improve for races.  I need to improve strength & fitness (& get lighter) to be able to stay on the wake of the group at the starts without ruining myself.

Tonight was a good turn-out of roughly 20 paddlers in still, warm conditions with a very light northerly wafting breeze.

We headed off in 3 groups for longer efforts down to Sthn HQ & back to the DSS which was 5.5km.  This was hard work and I held a similar pace to my 10km race pace of 11.5ish km/h.  On the second effort I started a bit slower & we turned when Ben/Ian reached the half way point & headed back.  As I was struggling on the way back I forced myself to keep my stroke together so I didn't fall in a heap.

I was still sweating 30 mins after the session as I got some groceries at the 'stupid big red hand' shopping centre.

27 May 2013

27/5/13 - kayak race & mtb training

26/5/13 - Derwent Canoe Club race on the Derwent River at New Norfolk.  The race was 10km & I started in the fast group, knowing that I would end up at the back of that field.  The div 2 group left 5 minutes before and I was hoping to catch a couple of them.

At the start I didn't get on the fast wake because I haven't done enough paddling yet, especially fast sprint starts.  That should be better in the next few months.

I caught up to Steve after about 3km & stayed on his tail until roughly 6km then paddled alongside.  Steve had a better bridge turn & finished a bit stronger.  This 10km paddle just reinforced that I need to do lots more work.

27/5/13 - MTB ride after work - When I finished at 3pm I headed for Clarence MTB park.  It was beautiful in the sun but very chilly in the shaded areas.  I mainly did practice in the spots that I've had trouble with - the tight, steep switchbacks.  In each spot that I couldn't get around I kept going back to re-try it.  On a couple I managed to work them out but some I am still stuck on.

I spent about 15 mins doing continuous laps around the short pumps track and I was slowly improving as I worked out how to pump the bike for momentum.  I finished with a ride up the xc course to Tunnel Hill & back, getting to the car just after dusk as the temperature plummeted with clear skies.

24 May 2013

24/5/13 - Kingborough MTB Park

After a nice lunch with an old friend (not old but hadn't seen her for a long time) at Blackmans Bay, I headed to Kingborough MTB Park for a bit of exercise & to work on my skills.

Things I want to improve are - my jumping is hopeless because I didn't play on bmx's enough as a kid & old people don't heal as quickly when you crash - and I crash a fair bit.

Usually I leave the ground when I don't intend to - when I am going hard racing or chasing someone and go over an obstacle at speed & leave the ground unintentionally.  When I think about it too much or don't attack the obstacle enough bad things happen and I spend time removing gravel from my wounds.

I started warming up at the mtb track with a couple of laps of the longer xc track, then did some hard laps.  My previous best time around the 1.35km course was 5m29.

Today my hard laps were:

1.   5.56 warm up
2.   5.16
3.   5.07
4.   5.02
5.   5.02

After that I had a go at the jumps with mixed success - slowly building up a bit.  Then I worked on the pump track gradually gaining confidence & technique until I was attacking it.  I finally stopped when the the dusk had turned to night.

23 May 2013

23/5/13 - Thurs paddle

There was a big turnout for Thursday night kayak/ski training.  I was in a tippy kayak so I couldn't do much looking around to count them but there would have been 20+

The warm up was 2.2km up to the sth end of Macquarie Pt wharf.

Next was 6 efforts along the 620m length of Macquarie Pt wharf with about a minute between each effort then the 2.2km cruise back to the DSS.

We did the efforts in 3 groups to keep everyone close together by the end of each lap.  The pace was on & they hurt a lot.  This is the sort of training that is hard to motivate yourself to do by yourself.

22 May 2013

22/5/13 - mtb ride & eye scratch

On my ride to work, I headed through the Clarence MTB Park (Meehan Ranges).  I had been wearing dark riding glasses but when I got into the dense trees, I couldn't see the track properly.  I took off my glasses to see the rocks & roots more easily but I managed to scratch my left eye as I rode through a branch.  I got a bit of 'stuff' in my left eye & it was really irritating.

20 mins later at work I managed to wash the 3mm bit of stuff out but my eye was very red & inflamed.  I went to an optometrist & they found a scratched cornea & I had scraped of some of the top layer (whatever bit that is) - which they found by putting dye in my eye.

The lesson from all that is wear clear riding glasses in the dark areas for protection.

20/5/13 - mtb ride

I was working 4pm to midnight so I decided to make a decent ride of the trip to work so I rode through the Clarence MTB park from Belbins Rd to Flagstaff Gully link rd & stopped to practice a few areas on the way.

The main area I needed to work on is looking through corners & physically turning my head, shoulders, chest & the inside knee to the direction I want to go through the corner.  I stopped and repeated a few tight corners to improve the way I went around them & was a bit better as I left.  It will need constant practice to make it second nature.

The ride home at midnight with Ralph was a bit chilly initially as we headed up Cambridge Rd/Mt Rumney area - but well & truly warm by the top.

19 May 2013

19/5/13 - work, ride, paddle, snooze

On what was supposed to be a day off, I struggled out of bed at 5.30am (after going to bed at 2am) to head to work for the City to Casino fun run - traffic patrol & road closures.  It always confuses me why annoyed motorists honk & yell at police for shutting roads - as though we are just doing it to annoy them - for no reason.  It was just as crazy when people were angry that we were shutting roads at the Dunalley fires so the Fire Brigades could work without more people being put at risk & so the power companies could get poles back up.  Police get all the abuse for shutting a road so the other emergency services can do their jobs.

Anyway, after work I headed out to Clarence MTB park for a ride.  After lots of recent crashes & lots of cuts & grazes, I didn't have my heart in it today.  I went for an hour & then headed back to the car.  I had also bought my surf ski to work so I drove to Howrah beach for a paddle in my Epic V10L.  I haven't been on it for a while and it will take a while to get the feel of it.  I really need to get the feel for it on the flat first.  Today there was a 15kt s/w swell so I did a few runs into it then turned back downwind.

By the time I got home I was worn out after a lack of sleep last night & I lay down in the sun for a nap. Nice!

18 May 2013

18/5/13 - kayak training - Howrah

After a night when I fell asleep on the couch in front of the heat pump, I woke up with a dry, sore throat & dry eyes as the tv was belting out the sound of the Nascar qualifying session.  I wonder when tv's will detect that the watcher has fallen asleep & just turn themselves off?  Or maybe they will be wirelessly connected to your heartrate monitor & blood pressure so they can tell if you are bored.  The ratings people would love that feedback.

Anyway... I had a few big drinks to recover from my heat pump dehydration then headed off to Howrah for kayak (or ski) training.

There was a good turnout of 13 paddlers on the sunny morning - with 2 new Epic V14's on the water and lots of V10 sports, a Think & 2 Grafton kayaks.  I was using my Grafton Bandit because it is good in all conditions, comfortable & isn't too unstable if the conditions get bad.

We left Little Howrah Beach & headed from point to point up the eastern side of the river to the Tasman Bridge which was about 6km upstream.  Near the bridge there was a 2-3km/h flow but off Bellerive Beach & Howrah there was nothing of note.

On the way back from the bridge we did a couple of longer efforts.  I was using my new Jantex Gamma medium at 209.5cm which is the cruising length that seems to work for me.

After the paddle most people headed across the road for coffees etc.

By the time I got home the day was turning nasty so I was glad to get the paddle in the sunny part of the day.

17 May 2013

17/5/13 - Smarties trivia

I don't think there is any quality control at the Smarties factory.  I have counted as low as 46 in a pack up to 57.  Would it be weird to take weigh the smarties packets on the scales in the fruit & vegie section to see which have the most inside.  Yes, you are right that is a bit extreme.  Instead I give the pack a shake & the one with the least shaking space is the 'winning pack'.  That is how I found my 'PB' of 57 after my previous PB was only 53.  The day I only got 46 I was ready to riot!

Maybe I have too much spare time ...

13/5/13 to 16/5/13 - kayak & mtb training

Monday 13/5/13 - enjoyed a lovely sleep in & did no training after long hours of work at Kingston on the weekend.

Tuesday 14/5/13 - headed to Cremorne to paddle with Christian, Karina, Pete & Andy.  I wanted a challenge so I paddled my 'tippiest' kayak.  There was a fresh northerly, so as we left Cremorne there were reasonable rolling swells to head into.  I wasn't expecting to be out in this & hadn't worn a spray deck but the Evo Edge has a high deck & cockpit area & didn't take any waves in.

The run back with the swells was great fun but with the trailing rudder, I had to keep running ahead of the waves to be able to steer.  By the end of the session the kayak didn't feel wobbly any more but it is a little snug.

After that I headed up to Christian's to work on a mountain bike track on his property.  Initially I wandered around the bush to get the lay of the land and then went around with track tape to plan a route.  After that we did some work on a downhill section.  It all looked ok until trying to ride it and found that the features were all too close together as a result of being on foot & not appreciating the speed of a bike & how quickly it can move.  We ended up having to move a few corners to make it more user-friendly.

That evening was a mountain bike training ride on Tangara trails.  We left Mather Place & headed generally down the trails to the eastern side of Gellibrand Dve & back up the water's edge to the west of Gellibrand.

We were out for a couple of hours for the 25km hard ride.  I have been getting sore thumbs and had an x-ray last week - thinking I had stress fractures (maybe I am a hypochondriac) & there were no cracks but they were still very sore.  I realised as I was riding over bumpy ground I had my arms straight which resulted in all the forces going into my hands.

We were told at the MTB Skills course that the 'attack position' was feet level and chest & head low with elbows bent and pointing out.  As I realised that I wasn't doing this, I also realised that the straight arms were also probably causing my sore thumbs.  I will have to really concentrate on my body & arm position or I will have broken thumbs.

Wed 15/5/13 - recover from last nights bike ride while I was at work - feeling wiped out & sleepy.

Thurs 16/5/13 - Good day at work, catching up on all of my paperwork, then headed to the DSS for kayak training.  It was a cool, night with a light s/w breeze.  I used the Chrono for an extra challenge because I want to use it in the Huon races so I had better do some training in it.  It is definitely faster than the Bandit in calmer conditions but it is less stable & a bit 'less roomy'.

The numbers at training were low, probably because Ben couldn't be there (thanks to Ian C taking the session) and it was a cool, windy night.  Some of the reliable, regulars weren't there - Bucks didn't turn up 5 mins after we got on the water & there was no sign of Cathy's car on the Esplanade - stuck at work setting a good example???

We did 3 extended efforts down to Taroona, sharing the wash-riding and returned with the runs doing 2 long efforts on the way back to the DSS.  It was a hard night but chasing faster people is great to get more out of you.  Ian, Andrew P were up the front as I fought with a rapidly improving Alex & Jodi steaming along.

13 May 2013

12/5/13 - MTB Skills course

After at late night at work & 3hrs sleep I headed to Tolosa MTB park for a mountain bike skills course with

There were 7 participants and everyone was keen.

We started with techniques for getting over small obstacles, then the general techniques of vision (looking thru corners), position (riding in attack position), momentum & technique (VPMT).  The key was to continually apply these to all aspects of riding. 

Next were uphill corners - with the important parts being looking thru the corner & physically turning your head, shoulders & body to where you want to go, as well as momentum & having the right body position fwd vs back.

Next were downhill corners applying all of the V.P.M.T. then over drop-offs with the key points being momentum, extending your arms/handlebars fwd & keeping your vision up so you are looking ahead not focused on the edge of the drop off.

After 4 hrs everyone still seemed to want to keep going and could probably have gone for another 4 hrs.  The instructors were great and were very encouraging.  I would recommend a course for anyone wanting to improve their confidence & bike handling skills.

09 May 2013

9 May 2013 - Thurday 'Ben' kayak training

I look forward to these Thursday afternoon sessions.  They have the intensity of a race every week and leave me stuffed afterwards BUT if you miss the session you know that everyone who went is getting an advantage on you.

Tonight there was a really good turnout of 20+ paddlers.  We headed down to the pontoon off Sthn HQ in groups of 4 or 5 ish in lines - with the back paddler doing sprints to the front of the line then easing back to about 8km/h so the new back paddler can sprint up.

Once at the pontoon we did 2 x 2km efforts - with fastest going off last & chasing.  The went around the corner to the right - to the orange yacht buoy then out to the Garrow then back to the pontoon.

We had a couple of minutes break before the next one.  On each lap the fastest guys were catching everyone by the Garrow area & the buoy turns were good practice for race turns with the congestion.

At the end of the second one I had finished hard enough that I thought I would puke.  The smell of all the bird poo on the pontoon didn't help.

I had been paddling my bandit which I find very comfortable in any conditions.  It isn't the fastest thing I could use in flat water (Chrono or Evolution Edge) but it is stable in the dark & your legs stay warmer than on a ski.  Bucks was in my 'spare' Evo Edge & looked good at he cruised past me with it slicing through the water.

At the moment I am stuck on an average speed of 11.5km/h for longer efforts with the Bandit.  This will improve as I do more paddling over winter (& hopefully lose a few kg).

I will probably use the Chrono in the next Huon race.  It is narrower, has less drag and is a 2 or 3kg lighter but is a bit tippier.  I can accelerate it more easily too.  I would like to use the Evo Edge but it is a little snug to sit in & hard to rotate & get good leg drive because it is a snug fit.  The cockpit entry is a small one too which is great for keeping the splash out but hard to get in on a steep river bank.

08 May 2013

First aid & other stuff

Today was our regular work first aid course.  I was hoping to learn some handy hints to instantly heal mountain bike gravel rash - but sadly no!

We did lots of resuscitation practice with defib which was handy.  They didn't cover how not to faint when you over-extend yourself riding up the mountain.

After work I went to the doctor to find out if my thumb was broken after one of my stacks yesterday.  I then went for an x-ray & with my uneducated viewing I couldn't see a crack.  I guess it is just a strain.

All of these injuries make it more important to do the MTB training course this Sunday that I am doing with - where Su Sprott is an instructor.

Tomorrow is a paddling day - Thursday training with Ben at Sandy Bay.  They are hard but enjoyable.

07 May 2013

7 May 2013 - Nth/Sth Track loop

Christian had organised a group for a ride from Hobart, up to the Springs, down the Nth/Sth Track to Tolosa Park & back to Hobart which is about a 40km loop.

I knew that I would probably be slowest and it would be a hard day - trying to stay up as we headed up to the Springs.

My last ride on this course didn't end well so this time I used some cross country tyres so the ride up to the Springs wouldn't be so hard.  I knew that would mean there was less grip down the MTB track but so be it.

On the way up Strickland Av we turned up a track past Cascade where there is a crazy downhill course with jumps that would mean certain death for me.  There were lots of ramps with big jumps that I usually only see on youtube videos.

I had to walk most of the way up this track because my legs were already dead from the Mt Roland walk a couple of days ago.

This emerged onto Huon Rd just down from the top of Strickland Av jcn. and we continued up to the Fern Tree shop for a short break.  We then continued up to the Springs with Christian & Sam disappearing quickly into the distance.  Ralph stayed with me to give me some company even though he would have almost stayed with the others.

After I passed Shoebridge Bend, Christian & Sam came up behind us.  They had already done the Spring section down & were heading up again.  At the start of the Nth/Sth track I let the pressures down a bit.  They were 70psi for the road ride & I was guessing they were down to about 30 for the MTB bit.

The others headed off first and I just rolled down the track.  It was a bit damp but in good condition.  We re-grouped at Junction Cabin and then at each track crossing after that.  This ride was the first time I had bothered to ride across the long rocky section in the landslip area.

As we got close to the top of the Tolosa area I had a fall on a bend when I think I might have used front break while turning & lost the front wheel - sliding down the track on my front.  I bent the rear derailleur a bit & just bent it back into place.

As we got to the top of the Tolosa Park there was a great course of bermed corners down to a fire trail.  At that point there are lots of options & we went down the downhill course.  I followed Ralph in an area of deep pine needles & lost the front wheel again on a tight bend as I pushed to stay with him.  This time I caught my left thumb against the handlebars & bent it back.  I hope it is just strained.  (my stupidity & carelessness really annoys me - it is no wonder I am covered in grazes)

I rolled cautiously down to the car park.  I pumped my tyres up again & we screamed down Tolosa St & along the bike track back to my car.  It was nice to finish & sit in the sun at Cornelian Bay as I brushed the gravel out of my latest grazes.

Overall it was a good 3hrs of exercise (37.3km) with a strained thumb & a bit of gravel-rash thrown in.

04 May 2013

14 April 2013 - Kellevie 6hr MTB Race

After a bit of training on Clarence MTB tracks & Belbins Rd, Ralph, Prue & I decided to put in a 3 person mixed team for the Kellevie 6hr race.  Each lap was 11km and we changed over after each lap.  We finished a great day doing 9 laps (3 each) & we were all keen for more races.  It had been a fine day & a good track for the fundraiser for Dunalley after the fires.

4 May 2013 - Mt Roland

Dad & I were keen to go up to Agfest & I had never been before, mostly due to clashes with work.  We decided to combine it with a walk up Mt Roland.  Dad had been up before from the main track from Gowrie Park so we decided to try the 'face track' that goes from Kings Rd at the 'town' of Claude Rd which is a couple of k's away from Gowrie Park.

After the day of wandering around Agfest we headed to the ex-hydro accommodation at Gowrie Park.  There are cabins & backpackers accommodation but all we needed was a roof & a warm room - and we got both.

The backpackers rooms are small & cosy & were $30 for a single person or $20 each for a shared room.  They had a heater and were very comfortable.  The hot showers there were $1 for 5 mins & had good pressure in their newly built amenities block.

After a very rainy night we headed to the walk start.  The sky was clear & we could see a good dusting of snow on the mountain.  It towered above us so we knew we had our work ahead of us.  You start this track at 380m & the top is 1233m.

The track was in great condition & you climb steeply on a well-cleared, wide track for about 45 mins (at our pace).  At this point there was a giant round boulder with a flat top that was great for a drink break.  From here you head up into the gully that the track uses for this way up Mt Roland.  The Gowrie Park route uses a different way up.  I haven't been up that way but Dad said that this way was steeper.

The route up this gully was a constant, steady climb.  It became more narrow the higher you got & eventually you emerge at the top onto a flattish plateau.  The track was a creek due to the overnight rain & there was snow all around us & alpine vegetation with lots of scoparia.

The route on the plateau was easy & marked by 1m high poles (so you can see them in snow) and the track wound its way around a few hills until the summit cairn appeared just after you meet up with the track from Gowrie Park.

On the top it was blowing a gale and it was bitterly cold.  We only stayed for a couple of minutes and had to get back into some shelter from the freezing wind before we lost use of our hands.

We then headed back to the gully & on the way down we had trouble because there were lots of rocks covered with moss & lichen that were extremely slippery.  At one point Dad (who was a couple of metres below me, slipped and lost his balance and started falling down the steep, rocky track out of control, yelling as he fell.  He went down over a rock ledge & came to rest a metre or so below.  When I asked how he was all he could say was "Winded".

He lay on the ground assessing the damage.  He said he was feeling a bit sore & battered but couldn't feel any major damage or breaks.

After about 5 mins he got up & was able to continue, very carefully down to the car.

Down at the car the sun was out & we had a great, clear view back to the top.  We enjoyed a feed at Deloraine on the way home.  During the trip Dad thought that he may have broken a rib or two as it hurt when he coughed or stretched.

02 May 2013

10 March 2013 - Allports Beach to Killiecrankie

We left Allports Beach at 9.30am and after 2km we were on a corrugated gravel road with rotting road kill every 20m.  These 2 factors are the only unpleasant things about riding on Flinders Island.

The road to Killiecrankie was gently undulating, inland from Marshall Bay - approaching the gaps between Mt Tanner & Mt Boyes.

From the turn off to Killiecrankie there was a 5km gentle downhill to the beach.  Just before the beach there was a signpost to a campsite on the right.  We headed down a driveway and we were confused when it went to a private house & a dog came running at us.  It didn't look at all inviting as a camp so we continued to the beach & camped next to the picnic area which had a picnic shelter, gas bbq & a water tank.

The day had been another hot, dry ride so we were very relieved to get some cold drinks & an ice cream from the Killiecrankie cafe/shop (only open thru summer).

Later that afternoon a 'local' asked "Don't you like the campground?" - Well No we didn't like the campground.  That was why we weren't staying there.

That afternoon 4 NSW kayakers arrived from Deal Island.  It was great to catch up & hear the story of their trip.

11 March - Killiecrankie to Palana then North-East River
12 March - N/E River back to Killiecrankie with a day walk up Mt Killiecrankie
13 March - Killiecrankie to Allports Bch
14 March - Allports Bch to Whitemark
15 March - day walk to Hayes Hill near Whitemark
16 March - day walk down the beach south of Whitemark
17 March - Whitemark to Lady Barron
18 March - day walk to Pot Boil Point
19 March - catch the boat back to Bridport overnight
20 March - back to work!

9 March 2013 - Whitemark to Emita

We had a very comfortable night at the Whitemark pub and a hot breakfast.  On the way out of town, we dropped off 2 bags of excess gear with a friend.   We had bought far too many warm clothes and the weather was continuing to be warm & dry.  We also called into the Whitemark Bakery and bought turkey salad rolls for our lunch.

With the reduced gear load we both had plenty of space in our panniers and the bikes felt noticeably lighter & easier to handle.

A couple of k's up the road we came across the Saturday morning market at the recreation ground.  We wandered around for a while then continued up the road.

We cruised north into a headwind, passing the airport, a long straight and over a big hill then down to Emita.  We noted the museum as we rode towards the camp ground.  After setting up camp we returned to the museum for the afternoon.  There was a newly built museum since I was there last.  It was impressive & you could spend hours looking through the historic photo/document folders.

The afternoon was still hot & muggy so it felt great having a swim at Allports Beach.