Thrills and thankfully no spills

I’ve ridden the Speed Dome quite a number of occasions now but this year is my first Perth Winter Grand Prix. My first planned attempt at the GP was back in 2012, which was also my first go the boards. I ended up spending the day at A&E getting stitches. Rookie mistake.
3 years on, and I haven’t moved up the ranks to A grade. Disappointed? Yes. But if I count the days I’ve been bike racing, or actually rode a track, I know I shouldn’t be too hard on myself. It’s difficult to make a comparison with people from different backgrounds racing amongst the top ranks domestically in a cycling nation within 18 months and it doesn’t take sherlock to figure out why.
The less then healthy atmosphere within cycling back home at the moment is just turning from bad to worst. And lets face, because there aren’t many cyclist, competitive or recreational, you’re bound to get caught in the cross fire. It’s not top secret that I wasn’t welcomed with open arms into the world of two wheels. If you’re not willing to be someone’s biatch, forget about getting into the frat house.

My time working up the competitive ranks lacked focus and direction. Started off learning to put my foot in the water. Then thought I could dabble in the sprints (that obviously didn’t work out) Now I’ve moved on into the enduro path. You can’t take back time, but judging by the moves I could still pull off in a club level match sprint, my time with Carl and the aBoc crew hasn’t gone to waste.

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Photo courtesy of Tony Lendrum Photography

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Photo courtesy of Tony Lendrum Photography

There’s going to be alot of suffering in the next few months as I aim to be enduro fit. I’m just glad and appreciative that I have someone I trust and has faith in me on board now.

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Photo courtesy of Conor Sherwin

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Photo courtesy of Conor Sherwin

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In search of the missing pair of track legs

Two weeks now in Perth. Can’t complain about thr weather. Yet. Definitely good time to get in those road ks.

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The boards haven’t been too great unfortunately. The 501 laps TourdeSpeeddome was canned due to lack of entries but there was Round 3 of the Winter Track Series to look forward to last Friday. Training on the boards haven’t been upbeat as I’m struggling to look for the speed I had. Not promising considering the plan was to find more speed from where I left off. Needless to say, racing on Friday was far from acceptable. Throw out the back, fought to get back on. Once, twice, thrice But there’s just so many times the legs can do that.
Apart from that, having to fiddle with my setup and hunting the second-hand market for the right bits to chuck on has put me a little out of sorts. The second-hand market here can be quite a pain to deal with.

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No racing pictures to go along with it cos there probably isn’t much to take when you can’t even mix it in on the action.
Brand new start to the week, let’s work towards some gainz. My Velotoze is probably going to come in handy this week. Look out for that.

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Getting back into the enduro side of things

It’s been some quiet few months. Nothing eventful as the typical Singaporean lifestyle had taken over and attempted to suck the life out of me.
But the Perth Winter Track Cycling Grand Prix has come to the rescue. I’ve made the trip back down to get a solid 6-week block in. Being here just 5 months ago, I doesn’t feel like I left.

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The roads outback can be rough. But living in a city state, you seldom get to peddle for 3 hours non-stop without having to wait at the lights and face a block head wind. It sure is fun becoming an enduro.

The 2015 SEA Games are underway. Be sure to watch out for my man Wille in the triathlon on Sunday 7 June. Get amongst it!
And don’t miss out on the high speed action that is cycling! #OurTeamSG
Full schedule can be found here
http://results.seagames2015.com/

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Just ride your bike

After a slight mishap with a vehicle on the road three weeks ago, everything is back in full swing. The scabs have all fallen off, the bruises have faded away. I’m glad I walked away from that. No matter how light the accident may be, never take it for granted that you’re able to get back on the saddle.
The new 11-speed components are pretty swanky. Though just minor improvements, the gains are pretty significant, in my not-so-professional opinion.
With sponsor’s commitments, riding hours are limited to before 12pm. You can do heaps before 12pm, if you’re up at 5am. Four hours on the road and still have time to make eggs and a second cuppa. Or a lung bursting, leg screaming sess on the wind trainer plus two hours on the road before heading into work. Or some big squats and deadlifts. Less of the bench presses nowadays.
Not getting too caught up with marginal gains. I’m keeping it simple: HR monitor, cadence sensor, get it right between the ears. Counting down to the Wintet GP.

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finding myself

I’ve been lazy with the updates.

In regional news, the 2015 Asian Track and Road Cycling Championships was on a few weeks ago in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand, aka Korat. Great hit out, especially those gunning for a slot at this year’s SEA Games. If you haven’t heard, only the Road team will be out in full force. Bummer for the trackies, mountain bikers and bmxers.

I finished 17th in the Keirin and didn’t qualify for the sprints. Full results here. Needless to say, the competition ended for rather early for me. It gave me plenty of time to evaluate how I should progress. Preparation leading up was pretty solid. Squeezed in as much track time as I could get with the help of CCC Shuzenji and Track Cycling WA, but it dawned on me that I haven’t picked up enough of the technical skill needed to handle the sprint events. All the strength and power work I’ve been doing just isn’t going into the bike quick enough to stay in the race. You always question the decision you’ve made when I doesn’t turn out right the first time. Should I have dabbled in endurance right from the get go? Maybe. But I don’t regret it one bit.
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Focus on the process and you are sure to take something positive along the way. Well, at least it worked for me. I believe the people I’ve met who has helped me with my cycling, the tracks I’ve been fortunate enough to train on, was because of the decision to have a go at the sprints. The lessons learned along the way helps you find yourself. In my case, I’m better suited for endurance.

So I’ve started the long road back to 4 hours on the saddle and high intensity intervals. I almost forgot what torture and suffering felt like, but it didn’t take me long to get reacquainted. Looking back, with the measly amount of Ks I have in my legs, I could still put my head down and keep up in the 100-lappers in the Speed Dome. My first dabble back into bunch riding last week showed plenty of promise. Not quite like the speeds in a points/scratch race, but I wasted no time putting the hurt down. So you’ll probably see me on the road alot more now. Don’t forget to say Hi
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Welcome 2015

I was meaning to do a round-up of 2014, including an excellent training stint with CCC Shuzenji. It has just been a whirlwind of events, on and off the bike.

The CCC Shuzenji training camp takes you back to the basics, and it’s something worth re-visiting every now and again. Form and posture, numerous efforts on small gears. Times aren’t so much of a concern, but with competitiveness and pressure to perform, riders always use times as a benchmark for either improvement or performance. This edition of the training camp housed a great bunch of up and coming junior riders with heaps of potential. So I’ll be looking out for their names in the near future. For me, it was more like a good solid 2 week training block, form check and to see where I am physically on the Wingate test at the keirin school.
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In the department of good news, after deciding to give the 2014 Asian Championships a miss, I’m up to compete at the 2015’s edition.
http://cycling.org.sg/selection-into-scf-national-training-squad-for-mtbroadtrack-and-acc-2015-track-and-road/
I’ve been making progress but at the same time putting a lot of pressure on myself to prove my worth. Well it’s kind of inevitable when you’re a noob, unless you have a coach/system/program (whatever you want to call it) looking out for you. So here I am, back in sunny Perth, to get them track legs ready. Thank you TCWA for the warm welcome back. A massive shout out to Rudy Project Singapore, for all the support and belief they have in me. BikeGearNow, Solitude of Strength, TRG, Restwise, Maxinutrition Asia, G8 Performance, MSTI, thank you for being part of this gruelling journey. Your support has helped keep me going.

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Trying to keep my head up

So my recent hit out at the last round of the Thailand track championship in bangkok didn’t go quite as planned. Carrying some improvement in form from last month, I was aiming for a good showing. I madet the decision to try out a few changes with my gearing.

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Photo courtesy of Thai Cycling Association.

I probably should have stuck with Carl’s rule of thumb: use a gear the fastest YOU can go at to give yourself the best chance of winning.
So I might have bombed out (again), but this is up there on the valuable lessons learnt.

It’s about 3 months before Asian champs and I’ll be getting into the thick of things. I head back to CCC Shuzenji in December and I’m working on a training camp in January. In the meantime, plenty of ergo and gym sessions.

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Moving forward

So it’s still not too late for a lowdown on my time in bkk. 2 weeks well spent with the people from CCC Shuzenji and a great training group. Because I knew how the camp would be run, I could get straight into the thick of things, not wasting any of the efforts. This time round, there were a few more peps who weren’t that fluent in English. So I did my part to translate the best I could.

This is my fourth time with CCC Shuzenji and I felt I got the most out of this one. I made very sure to apply everything I picked up from Carl and the aboc squad right from the get go: Getting into the right frame of mind, like I would in order to chase down the motorbike. With the ACC Track Asia Cup scheduled after the camp, it’s pretty much just over a week’s of proper training before they need to tone it down to taper for racing.

Even though my Track Asia Cup results aren’t exactly newsworthy, the improvements made were certainly encouraging. Having the coaches tell you that you’ve made significant progress and seeing your times drop by the second, is sign that I’m on the right track.

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For sale: Casco Speed Time helmet

For sale: Casco SpeedTime Helmet. Used only a couple of times. Still in excellent

One size fits all. 55 – 61cm

Going for SGD$350. Comes with original hard carry case.

Feel free to contact me if you’re keen to take a look.

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Plugging away

The ongoing #AG2014 #Incheon2014 has seen some amazing performances from #OurTeamSG and the effectiveness of social media has helped fuel the athletes with local support, something which has been heavily critiqued for being grossly absent. My days of major games are behind me now but I’ve noticed some difference in the approach and attitude of local media.

These days there may seem to be a little too much ‘pat on the backs’. Credit definitely has to be given for effort, but where and how should we draw the line? Has effort properly been evaluated as a best-performance or does a half-arsed effort also deserve any commendation? To give an idea where this is coming from: I raced my first AG in rowling (which also happened to be my first major games), after 3 years in the sport, to the lack-of-delight of the rowling a-sociation. I finished 9th and of course that got me a C grade by the stalate times. At that point in time, did I think I deserve a C? No. Because I thought effort counted for something. I rowled 3 years out of the boathouse at Pandan, literally on my own. I looked for my own coaches who believed in me because no one in the rowling a-sociation ever did and couldn’t be bothered. Did anyone report that prior to me going down under to Mercs to train under Alastair, the previous head coach demanded he get a cut of the prize moolah if I brought home some bling? Did anyone report that I rocked up at the boat park to find out that a boat rental was not arranged for me? Maybe that’s also the athlete’s job. My bad for assuming administrators role is admin. And did anyone report that after hours of wait and eager anticipation I managed to pick up a left over scull which was too small? My bad for having long limbs. I suppose no one outside the circle knew because the 2 hr bus ride from the games village to the rowling site (that makes 4 hrs to and fro) was not worth our own media’s time for a lone competitor who is an outside chance for a medal.
From a high performance perspective, did I deserve a C? Yes. I didn’t come in top-6, which is what is required to qualify for the AG. I taught myself to harden up.

I raced at the SeaG the following year and bombed out in both my events. There was definitely no pat on the back for all the drama I went through: from a coach, who was hired 4 months before the games (I was already at Mercs), kicked out one of chaps in the doubles, threatened that he’ll pull me out of the single if I don’t fill in the double, insisted I cann my stint at Mercs early to train with him (which of course I said no) and he resigned even before I got back. Talk about short term planning. Did anyone report that, EVERYONE else in the team fell ill/sick, Which meant I was pulling a sick dog down the course, 1 hour before my singles finals. My bad for assuming that you get rewarded for being responsible for yourself, staying fighting fit, to give yourself the best possible chance of winning. The exact words from the grand master at rowling afterwards: “You lost, you’re not good enough. We won’t send you to 2012 London Qualifiers.” A slap on the wrist. A slap on the face, if I told you someone else was entered in that race I trained 4 years for.

So I never really got my share of ‘A’ for effort. But if you look back, our athletes were usually harshly judged based on performance. Now there is an effort to paint a fuller picture. It’s an encouraging step forward to building a sporting culture. Let’s hope it’s a genuine attempt to let the public be in the shoes of a professional athlete

At the end of the day, if you’re in it for high performance, my opinion is one of your goals has to be to reel in the bling. That’s just how it is. Maybe I’ve had too many bowls of nails of brekkie. But high performance is not what you go into if all you want is a feel-good rah rah.

So here I am in Bangkok, plugging away with the CCC Shuzenji coaches hoping I’ve made significant progress on my way back into the elite sports system, the hard way, because me and pats-on-back don’t seem to have much in common.

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