WINTER TRAINING JOURNAL I: NOT MALLORCA
We're still waiting around for permission to enter the UCI World Tour, thus waiting around to take advantage of the assumed free training camps to Mallorca, Tenerife and Andorra. Until then, the Melbourne boys will migrate further north, further west and join the ADL division for a winter training camp in weather only a few degrees warmer, but in a place with hills several kilometres nearer. A week was spent in Adelaide, a single ride completed, a suitable amount of recovery chilling undertaken and training notes documented. Who knew life as out and out bicycle racers could be this easy?
Whilst comparisons are made with Melbourne's 1 in 20 climb, we believe that Norton Summit holds all of the characteristics of an Angelenos type climb. We make this comparison having never travelled to California let alone Los Angeles, we just feel that it has ~the vibe~. It's the immediate rise out of the suburbs, turning back to provide awesome city views, the sometimes shoddy road surface, the red earth peeking between trees and shrubs. Don't try and tell us otherwise. Or do, but at least agree that it's better than the 1 in 20.
Being noticeably steeper than Melbourne's 1 in 20, Norton always gets Adrian toying with the idea of moving to Adelaide as the climbing suits him a little better. Whilst not aboard his regular bike with child like gear ratios, he held strong to his preference of spinning up most gradients and not having to deal with actual false flats. As is always the case when riding with Adrian, especially riding with Adrian in Adelaide, you are left to deal with him wishing the climb would keep the same gradients, but grow an extra 30km in length. Psycho.
One thing that Melbourne's major climbs certainly don't provide is convenience. It was by this stage of our ride that we were no more than 15km in after starting the wrong side of the city, and peering down into the gorge below as hikers traversed the rocky walls. Where's 15km in Melbourne going to get you? Gowanbrae thats where...yikes. Adelaide however will place you here, on a climb that is the best spot to meet new people, test yourself against a lot of other strong riders on strava, or go for a quick spin if you live a hectic busy lifestyle.
II: GORGE RD TIME TRIAL
The Mediterranean beauty of the Lower Gorge Village will no doubt never forget the unfortunately iconic imagery of Adrian vomiting his guts up after a 22km hard out effort along Gorge Rd from Cuddlee Creek. In that post it was promised that at the next opportunity, further photographic documentation would be provided for the reader at home. Despite the headwind and cracking pace, Adrian has delivered on his promise. Behold, a small selection of digital photographs of Gorge Rd. Posted because the world deserves to see it, selected in limited numbers because we care about your bandwidth. Can you imagine what would happen if we really posted up every single photo we would want to take of this 22km stretch of pristine bicycling road?
Local knowledge has the potential to play a massive role within your training regiment, and on a day where the primary obstacle was the headwind, the 6 climbs of the day second – it proved its worth in spades. It all went down as the two man training breakaway finished up their Gorge Road time trial and Adrian peeled off towards the front door of the Cudlee Creek Pub. Alex on the other hand kept riding, forcing Adrian to jump back on and chase on. Once caught up, the most incredible piece of local knowledge was divulged. Before their Tour Down Under (spectating) debut, a time where Alex resided in Melbourne,weighed down by the chains of lengthy working hours. Before the MEL division made the trek across the Princess/Western Highway, he compiled a list of landmarks who's visitation was compulsory. Somewhere around half way down that lengthy, iPhone Notes App list sat the Cudlee Creek café. The township of Cudlee Creek isn't all that big, in fact according to the 2011 census its just a little over 400 people, so you would think it's near impossible to mix the café up with another establishment. You would be wrong. For the last 2 visits to South Australia, the Soup Boys of Melbourne have unknowingly been visiting the Cudlee Creek Pub, scratching their heads wondering why all the ADL division talked it up so much. Well now we know, what a game changer.
Whilst the first station of replenishment came at the wog haven of Newton Village after a brisk descent of Montacute Rd, the first proper feed zone was at the now newly discovered (sort of) Cudlee Café. Vegan options, heartwarming caffé lattes and the best Vanilla slice out of Ouyen all key components of refuelling for the numerous climbs to come.
IV: FOX CREEK & COLD STORE
Alex's two favourite climbs in the Adelaide hills followed on from the compulsory feed zone of the Cudlee Cafe, and were the only things stopping us from hitting the final climb of the day ahead of schedule. These two climbs were Fox Creek Rd, followed by Burdetts Road, affectionately known as Little Italy situated a little bit further south within Basket Range. Now it wouldn't be a training camp if it didn't involve crunching numbers, so as appointed Bike Tech (bicycle technology) judge, jury and executioner, we leave it up to Alex to provide you with a rare insight into the life of a Soup Boys bicycle racer.
Both of these climbs have been where I like to test myself on a regular basis ever since we met each other in April this year. They're both the type of climb that suits me well, that is that they are short and steep, Fox Creek for example is 1.5km at an average of 7.8%, but pinches up to 20% so its almost creeping into false flat territory. It starts off pretty tame at about 5% for the first 500m then kicks straight up quickly with a 20% pinch. From there it stays between 10-17% for the remainder of the climb, excluding a short break of 5% about 1km in.
Fox Creek is the type of climb I try to just focus on not dying for the first kilometre, then normally go balls to the wall for the last steep section. Usually I'll push close to 340 watts or 4.4w/kg for the 6 or so minutes it takes, but every time I come out here I seem to be able to step up from my previous attempt. My last attempt for example was a 6 flat at 346 watts, something I was pretty proud of as I build towards adding an extra 74 watts onto my average. I wasn't exactly on planning on making an attempt at beating my PR but when you hit the climb proper there is no real chance to chill out. It's the type of climb and the type of road surface that you have to attack, just use the winding roads through the Basket Range as recovery in the event of Ryder Hesjedal-ing. This time around I had my eyes glued to my Garmin and managed a 5:47 averaging 360 watts or 4.6w/kg. Pretty surprised to see the result really, especially considering I felt I could have squeezed out a few more seconds. Either way, both results saw an improvement on my last, and as long as you're not moving backwards you're going in the right direction...right? Right?!
V: SUNSET MT OSMOND
We began the day how it commenced, with some LA inspired climbing up Mount Osmond Rd at sunset. Things were getting dark, getting cold, legs were getting slightly sore and the lines between setting the correct shutter speed and riding up double figure percentages were causing some havoc. Treated to a beautiful sunset over the coast, we participated in some accidental, google maps induced bonus vert before two man lead out training down the bike path, down Glen Osmond Rd, then finally along Port Rd where polenta, salad and beef ragu greeted us back at Casa di Lugo.
VI: TRY IT AT HOME
Whilst its winter, maybe you too want to participate in a bicycling training regime like ours. Whether out in the open, or on the Zwift, you can follow in our footsteps and compare yourselves to the C Grade legends of the Soup Boys. The ride we did can be found here, let us know how you go!