“Uh oh! Liam just stole your KOM”

Last week I mentioned that I was hoping to get a different perspective on a KOM effort. Luckily enough I have Liam Garriga on board to run us through his experience of Bolton’ up to Bonds.

Introductions first. Liam Garriga is an Eltham cyclist who can hold some serious speed up and down hills. I’ve been put in the box on more than one occasion whilst trying to hold his wheel on Mt Pleasant Rd in Research, Melbourne, and I think he is fairly similarly minded when it comes to KOMs…. they are there to be taken. Incredibly, he uses cycling as fitness for his main pursuit – inline speed skating. It certainly made me feel better about my times when I found out that he races for Australia at a world level!

As described last week, he managed to best my time on Christmas morning, and his effort really blew me away.

P.P. What prompted you to have a crack at this segment?
L.G. I’d had a general chat with you a few weeks prior about KOMs in the area and any plans to get some. When you mentioned the idea of taking KOMs and being a “Christmas grinch” on Christmas day, it then clicked that if I ride on Christmas, that one of your favourite KOMs would be in the firing line. All went to plan but I opted out of naming my ride “Christmas grinch”.

P.P. How did you rate your chances of succeeding?
L.G. I rated my ability highly on the bike at that point, so I was confident in getting it. Hadn’t given it a real go before that day so I didn’t quite know what I was in for!

P.P. Any tips for the segment?
L.G. The run up is essential of course! You need to come off the downhill, through the intersection with the green and hit the start at 50km/h and breeze up the 20%er at the start. Don’t bother turning onto it at 15km/h!

P.P. How did you feel during the effort?
L.G. The effort itself felt pretty solid, was happy with the speed throughout and the final burst over the last hump in the road.

P.P. How did you feel after the effort?
L.G. Absolutely atrocious. I stopped immediately, started violently coughing and was hunched over for well over five minutes. I convinced myself to keep rolling but not too long after, I vomited on the move (and copped a little on my own jersey/arm!) FYI I had bacon and eggs for breaky!

P.P. Final thoughts?
L.G. One of my favourite KOMs because I know how much the segment hurts. It’s one KOM that if I lose, there’s no way I’m coming back to reclaim it. I must say it’s one of the least enjoyable 1.5km climbs I’ve done…

Liam’s vitals from the ride:

Average Heart Rate: 191bpm

Max Heart Rate: 197bpm

Average Speed: 31.5km/h

Max Speed: 56.2km/h (yup – that run up helps!)

Give him some kudos and follow him on Strava – his rides often incredible to see.

Getting those ugly emails from Strava about having a KOM stolen can really suck, but I actually appreciate them when someone does it cleanly, and even more so when it’s a mate. Whilst I love getting out and claiming segments, I get far more excited when I see friends pushing themselves and constantly improving. Bolton up to Bonds gave me a massive confidence boost, but the effort was physically very taxing. To have it taken away was hardly a downer when I realised Liam had pushed himself even more than I had. I really don’t want to do it again, but if I did, I’d take his advice and get that bloody run-up!

Invermay Road

The Strava summary of Invermay Rd, 1.1km at an average gradient of 10%, belies the true difficulty of this classic Dandenongs climb. Some climbs have a steep bit – Invermay Rd has a ridiculously steep bit – hitting over 20% and proceeding straight up. You can’t even see the top when approaching from the bottom!

John Van Seters first took me up the climb on his tour of the Nongs, and I’ve only ridden it twice since… mostly because there are other options. The second ascent was with Luke Chippindall, and he was trying to set a PR – so naturally the rest of the group rode it fast as well. Surprisingly, I found myself sitting second overall from that ride, so I was keen to go back.

Two days later, I set out to the Nongs with a bit of a rampage on my mind. The Basin to Skyhigh was the first target (an effort which I have already written about), following it up with a crack at the Crescent (10th overall and I was feeling smashed after segment one, but I would go back another day), next was Invermay and I would extend that to Skyhigh for another KOM attempt.

My confidence was much lower than my heart rate at the bottom of Invermay – I was pretty happy with the Basin to Skyhigh effort, but it really emptied my tank for the Crescent, and that in turn left me running on fumes for Invermay. But I figured I should hit it again, and could then cruise up to Skyhigh and set a good time for the longer segment.

Rounding a bend, one finds oneself looking up at the first pinch of Invermay Rd and the start of the segment. It’s only short, but still quite steep, and got me warmed up for the main event. Throwing down 500 odd watts, I had to take it relatively easy so as not to burn out for the steeper part. 500 Watts – easy? No, not so much. It was bloody hard.

With the tarmac levelling off briefly, I had time to catch my breath a little, but with the new addition of a power meter, I was conscious of the screen and didn’t let off the gas too much. Soon enough the road shot up in front of me – much like a rollercoaster, although in this direction the cart would be torquing it’s way up the track at low speed.

Revisiting my data from that ride, my cadence is probably of most interest. I must have been churning a large gear – not unusual for me on a hill, especially if trying to go fast on something short. The first steep part had me riding around the mid 60rpm mark – most likely I would have been trying to power over the start. It then crept up to mid 90s for the flatter part, before dropping down to mid 40s on the steepest face!

At approximately 8km/h, I found myself pulling up on the bars whilst simultaneously pushing most of my weight down on one pedal. A little bit of weight actually needed to be spared to keep the rear wheel connected to the road! I can’t emphasise enough how difficult a club such as this can become on your upper body. Sure, if you have easy gears on your bike, you can spin up a very steep climb. But with a standard crankset, and narrow road bars, I was forced to push the bike with everything I had to get it up that hill with speed.

And of course, one final pedal stroke eventually got me over the crest. About 150m more would get me to the end of the segment. I was completely hammered. My heart rate wasn’t all that high – not a good sign on such a short segment. I couldn’t give that road a final push – I was happy enough to get to the finish, let alone quickly. Grunting over the finish, I didn’t pause to look at the time – that would have to wait for later… I was still on a KOM hunt, and it would finish at the top of Skyhigh.

So how did I go?  2nd overall – exactly one second faster than my time two days prior and 13 seconds slower than the KOM. But I did get the top time when I extended Invermay to the top of Skyhigh, and only today I discovered that another segment has been set-up for Invermay Road…. a full segment from the intersections at both ends, adding an extra 20 vertical metres and about 300m. How does my time from that effort fair on this newly created segment (not created by me, by the way)? I’ve currently got the KOM!

Invermay Base to Wall – 1.4km at 10% average gradient completed in 4:59s

Average Speed: 17.2km/h

Max Speed: 31.7km/h

Average Heart Rate: 168bpm

Max Heart Rate: 178bpm

Average Power: 342W

Average Cadence: 65rpm

Invermay Road

Bagging Bagot

I don’t have an exhaustive list of KOMs by any measure, and I’ll most likely have them all taken away at some point, so I’ve gradually been chipping away at some more segments in Darwin. Thus far I’ve only written about these efforts in Melbourne, so it’s time to run you through one of the harder stretches of road I’ve managed to top in the top end.

Bagot Road runs pretty well directly north-south through the northern suburbs of Darwin. The segment in discussion runs for 3.5km with an average gradient of 0%. Yup, 0%. Flat as a pancake. Although probably that shitty first pancake of the batch that doesn’t come out quite right. Bagot Road basically has what I’d describe as 3 steps – sections of a few hundred metres where it is just obvious that the tarmac is tending a little up or a little down. A set of traffic lights intersect the road 3km in, making things tricky for a good time. The next set of lights signal the end of the segment, and fortunately you don’t need to run them to get a good time! Unfortunately, the segment is often hammered by one of the Saturday morning bunch rides – that means plenty of strong riders sharing a turn on the front!

I was vaguely aware that the segment existed, frequently taking it to get home after the Hour of Power, but typically at a fairly sedate pace having just worked so hard. But I knew where it started, and figured there would be a segment to the second lights, so I decided to have a bit of a dig one morning after a cruisy ride with Alex McCallum, up from Melbourne.

Farewelling Alex at the casino, I rolled along Stuart Highway just after peak hour, and took note of the strong southerly (remember Bagot runs north-south). Turning onto Bagot itself, the road bends and drops dramatically by Darwin standards, and I was able to pick up a lot of speed. I didn’t have a heart rate monitor on, and I wasn’t exactly sure of the distance, but I was determined to hold 300W all the way to the second lights, and see what sort of time that would get me.

With that tail wind, and the downhill start, I found myself really flying along. 50km/h was a breeze for the first hundred metres. I didn’t expect that to last as the tarmac crept up, but found it manageable, still maintaining that high speed and cranking the power up. I had nothing else to focus on apart from one number on the screen, so just threw my legs down harder if the number was dropping too much, or backed them off a bit if I surged too high.

I’d basically stopped looking at my speed, but was stoked I was holding out with this 300W effort. Stuart Crompton from the cycling club drove past in his car and gave me a toot… he does this often enough, but on this occasion he wasn’t overtaking nearly as quick as usual. Approaching the Totem Road lights, I could see I was going to get a perfect run, so I kept pegging away.

Dropping in power slightly, I was feeling the strain of riding so hard, but determined to make the most of effort, I flicked into a harder gear, simultaneously dropping my cadence, but increasing my power back to 300W. Fading badly towards the very end, I sucked it up to give it everything I had left, and was hoping for the best when I uploaded.

Reaching the second set of lights, the segment was now complete and I was stoked that I managed to hold that power for so long. I wasn’t really hoping for a top ten, knowing that a bunch would likely go through far quicker, but nonetheless, I figured it would be a pretty bloody good time.

The result. KOM. By 2 seconds. Yes, the tail wind was a massive help, but drafting in a bunch works well too. Couldn’t believe I’d knocked this one over, but more than anything I was stoked to have held the power I wanted to.

Average Power: 300W

Average Speed: 50km/h

Average Cadence: 99

Temperature: 27C

Bagot Road


Studley Park Hill

Do you live in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne and commute to the city by bike? If so, you may have found yourself grinding up Studley Park Hill at some point. Rising at an average of 4% over 1km, this segment starts just before you cross over the Yarra River, and finishes just before Nolan Avenue. With a strong tailwind, it is possible to ride up the hill with ease, but a stiff headwind will leave a rider labouring all the way. And if you are aiming for a top time, you’ll want that strong tailwind, and your legs feeling good – it’s a tough one!

My last RFWYA in Melbourne was a ripper – the crew had tee’d up a parting gift for me – a massive lead-out train was organised to help me try and take away a few targeted KOMs. A parting gift. Only I’d come off a massive few weeks – dead legs from the Pioneer Stage race, dead legs from the BAMF ride from Melbourne to Adelaide, dead legs from the Big Lap (300km long, 5000vm). And I was sick to boot. Regardless, I wanted to make the most of the lead-outs, and I loved the idea of the ride.

But I failed. Sickness and fatigue meant I just couldn’t push at 100%. Maybe not even 80%. It didn’t matter – I had a blast anyway. Watching everyone trying to organise a good lead-out and smashing themselves in the process was awesome. I didn’t manage to pinch a single segment, but I couldn’t have asked for a better send-off – I’ll remember that morning for a very long time.

Left a little disappointed that I couldn’t crack any top times that Tuesday – and couldn’t nail Studley Park Hill in particular – I decided to have one more go on the Wednesday night, one day before I would be leaving for Darwin. The winds were favourable.

With barely a warm up, I left home in the late afternoon and went directly to the bottom of the hill. Turning around with a break in the traffic, I immediately started to wind it up, getting the bike over 40km/h before hitting the bridge. The warm temperature helped make up for the lack of a lead-out train, and as the road pitched upwards, I found myself out of the saddle and throwing down the pedals as efficiently as I could without burning too many matches.

Through the steepest part of the climb, I was still feeling okay, and looking at the screen, I had a slight lead over the top time. Still unsure if I could maintain this kind of effort, and knowing I’d blown up too early before, I kept it consistent, but glancing down at the screen once more, I saw a malfunction that I definitely didn’t want to see. “Off Segment”. Crap. Garmin drop-out!

Not wanting to put my last effort to waste, I flicked the screen to show my speed and power. I wouldn’t know how I went until I finished the ride and uploaded, but I knew if I could maintain a high power output, I was still in with a chance.

Not long to go, perhaps a few hundred metres, but I could see the finish and was screaming at my legs to hold 300 watts. I was dwindling now, and shifted into an easier gear to keep my cadence up. I’d dropped down to well under 300 watts, but with the hill tapering off, I utilised the gear shift and higher cadence to finish off the segment at over 40km/h. 1:40s of pain and I’d just pinched another KOM! I wasn’t in my best form by a long shot, but I was stoked to get that one before the move.

It wouldn’t be one I’d hold for long, however, an email a few months later notified me that Damien Eagle had re-acquired the segment. Kudos. And well-deserved.

Average HR: 174bpm

Max HR: 184bpm

Average Power: 451W

Max Power: 614W

Cadence: 91rpm

Studley Park Hill

Chandler Highway to Top of Yarra Street

One of the early segments I worked towards topping runs from Chandler Highway, along the boulevard, and to the top of Yarra Street. I’d sum it up as an undulating time trial, followed by a short steep pinch – just when you think the pain is done, you cop a kick in the guts whilst you’re on the ground.

I think I stumbled upon the segment by accident one ride, and proceeded to slowly chip away at my time. On October 30th, I was fairly close, but didn’t feel warmed up enough and faced a predominant head wind. The following day a northerly was considerably more favourable, so i went out to have another crack after a bit of a warm up.

I didn’t have a power meter at the time, but I was keeping an eye on the live segment on the Garmin screen. Taking it relatively easy up the first climb (by relatively easy, I mean the fastest I’d ever ridden up there), holding over 40km/h up that 3%. I was feeling great, and didn’t notice my heart rate getting up to 185bpm – a sure sign everything was firing, but I wasn’t going to blow up.

I’d gained a 6 second lead, but was well aware of the fact I would need to maintain a good speed on all the downhill segments. And I did loose some time on that first downhill, and on the next uphill – not exactly a confidence boost, but I was still on par for my best time, so I kept hammering away. Brilliant, because as I rounded Cornering Speed Test, things got substantially easier!

Thus far, the northerly had been giving me next to nothing, but after that corner I could feel a noticeable difference in wind direction, and could suddenly hold a lead with less effort. I was convinced that I could take this one, and at that moment decided to save my legs for Yarra Street. It was a winning move.

The whole segment is really easy to blow yourself up on – go to hard early, and you could find yourself hitting lactate half way up Yarra Street (or earlier). Take it too easy, and you will need to fly up that final pinch. This time, my effort was measured perfectly, and I was able to maintain something of a sprint to the final corner, almost hitting my maximum heart rate. All over in 5:56s and the KOM in the bag with 8 seconds to spare.

I haven’t ridden that exact segment since, and am definitely expecting to receive an email notification of someone getting a better time. But I’d love to try and better my PB if the opportunity arises.

Average Speed – 37km/h

Max Speed – 51.1km/h

Min Speed – 15.1km/h (I don’t normally list this, but wanted to give an indication of what it’s like to hit Yarra St!)

Average Heart Rate: 177bpm

Max Heart Rate: 188bpm

Smoking a Cigar

Basin to SkyHigh

Despite a number of long endurance rides under my belt over a short time period, I still rate myself as more of a puncheur than a pure climber or long distance specialist. My most impressive efforts, typically, are on short, steep climbs, where my power to weight ratio lends me a natural advantage. But over 2015, I managed some great times on some extended climbs when I had someone to help pace me along. On the Lake Mountain Domestique ride, Nick Liau and I managed a top ten (this is definitely a ride I’ll have to recount some time soon). On that occasion, having Nick dictate the pace by use of his power meter meant we didn’t burn out and held it to the finish. I’ve also ridden well with Luke Chippendall, and on the segment of Basin to Skyhigh, a balanced effort to the summit got Luke into the top ten on the leader board. And it was on this segment a few weeks later, newly power meter fitted, that I put in a hard, solo effort.

The Basin to SkyHigh segment literally goes from The Basin, at the base of the Dandenong Ranges, to the car park gates of SkyHigh, at the top of Mt Dandenong. A rider must first contend with the 1/20 segment, and then turn left at the top. The road tends uphill towards Olinda, and then drops quickly to Mt Dandenong township. A left turn just after the bakery has you riding steadily uphill again, with a few undulations along the way, before one final left turn gives the segment on final, steep push. All in all, it climbs 431m over 13.6km – very much a climbers paradise, but with enough downs and near flats to require a serious TT effort.

Having not ridden much over the Christmas period with various commitments, I wanted to smack the shit out of some segments before moving to Darwin. And the newly added power meter made everything more interesting for me. Donna and Chase had left for Darwin on New Year’s Day, so on January 2nd, I rode solo out to the nongs. With numerous segments on my radar, I took it easy on the way out, but immediately cranked it up upon reaching The Basin.

The first stretch up the 1:20 I expected to be tough. I knew that I had to put in a personal best time up this first 6.5km, but still have legs remaining for the following 7km. Ouch! But chasing the live Strava time helped; rather than trying to dig crazy deep, I focused on keeping my time above Joel Nicholson’s (the KOM holder). I must have got the jump on him at the start, with a quick lead, but I managed to build on it all the way to Sassafrass. At my last Garmin check, I think I had nearly 30 seconds up my sleeve by the top of the 1/20. But that’s when things got really interesting for me…

If you are up to date with Blood on the Lungs, you may remember me mentioning a GPS dead spot at the top of The Crescent. Well, that dead spot can wrap around the hill a little bit, and by the time I was a hundred metres or so away from the top of the 1/20, Live Segments dropped out. Crap.

Knowing this to be a possibility, and with the addition of a power meter, the back up was to watch the screen and try and hold the effort to the summit. The only problem was that I still had little idea of what level of power I could maintain, so had to also go by feel. I could see my heart rate way up there, and a power output floating around the mid 200W mark, so I just kept pushing. The pitch up to Olinda is extremely tough if trying to go fast. It isn’t very steep, but to maintain a high speed will really sting your legs.

Not knowing how I was faring, but knowing I had a massive lead, I did worry that I’d gone out too hard. Coasting the downhill to the bakery, I recovered enough to keep pushing through the lumpy part of the course. On all the downs, I couldn’t keep the power level very high, but I would take the pinches very hard. And on the final pitch of the segment, I gave it everything I had left, so much so that I had to roll the last few metres.


Turns out I can do okay on a longer segment! KOM! But I had other segments to ride that day…

Time: 29:21

Average Speed: 27.9km/h

Average HR: 174bpm

Max HR: 181bpm

Average Power: 278Watts

Happy New Year To Me

Talbot Hill

If you are a road cyclist in Melbourne, you have probably ridden the Kew Boulevard before. At the northern end, it starts at Chandler Highway, beginning with a climb that averages about 3% over 700m. There are multiple segments on Strava for the same chunk of road, but on the one entitled “Talbot Hill”, of 17000 odd entrances, I currently hold the equal fastest time. And it is up there with the hardest short efforts I have put in.

Another KAB Wednesday ride in January 2016 had me out in the late afternoon trying to snipe a few segments. I’d managed to knock one over, but was disappointed to miss out on a couple of others that had been on the radar for a while. Riding back from the Pony Club in Viewbank, my legs were feeling heavy and the clouds were rolling in thick. But a strong northerly was favourable for some more efforts.

I’d started another attempt on the Ivanhoe Boulevard, but with rain starting to fall, I gave up and quickly found myself sitting undercover on Heidelberg Road, staring at the radar on my phone and looking at other possible segments on Strava. Some of the crew had already been out riding as well, and we’d agreed to still meet up at the Clifton Hill Brew Pub at 6:30 or so, with the rain looking like it wouldn’t last forever.

When the rain abated, I rolled off and out to far Kew, looking to tick off another segment or two. Wet roads and sketchy intersections were not ideal, but I equaled another, and headed back towards the Boulevard. Heading over the Chandler Highway bridge, the northerly was clearly blowing hard, but with heavy legs, I didn’t like the idea of taking on Talbot Hill. About 100m before the left turn, I decided I’d get on the gas at the start of the segment, see how I’m going, and just treat it as training if I blew up quickly. I’d smashed myself time and time over on this segment before, so had no grand ambitions, despite the wind direction.

Coming into the left turn, traffic on the road didn’t allow me to swing wide with speed. And slippery conditions made me more cautious than I might otherwise have been. So with a pretty slow approach, I started the attempt.

Onto the Boulevard, out of the traffic, and with no more fear of a wet slide, I immediately got over a big gear and pushed up to around the 700 watt mark. I weigh in at 55kg – so throwing around power like that means I go pretty damn fast if I’m going up a hill. The very start of the segment is slightly downhill, but as it pitched up, I was flying along at just over 40km/h. Still prepared to bail, my confidence was not where it needed to be to take a hill so commonly ridden.

After that initial rush of speed, I looked down to see how I was travelling with the live segment loaded onto the Garmin. I was doing well. Very well! So despite the lactic still burning in my legs, I pushed on. With my heart pounding like a jack hammer, and the hill steadily continuing up, I did my best to push the bike upwards with 600W of power. And I was still just ahead. I knew from experience that I needed to hold just a little in reserve to jump at the very end as the hill bends around to the left at the top. With my lungs burning at me and screaming to stop, and my head feeling dizzy, I could barely make out the data on my screen. Regardless, I was surprised I was able to hold the intensity for that long, and I threw the bike around the corner, no longer holding power, but maintaining the momentum accumulated by riding uphill at 40km/h.

Gasping for air and barely squeezing out some expletives, I coasted down to the freeway bridge, my chest heaving up to my chin. I didn’t see how I went for time – I couldn’t make out the screen. I just knew it would be close. As I made it to the bridge, I saw Paris Pollock getting a bike shot against the rails. He’d been out playing KAB too, and laughed as he saw my face. Turns out he’d just burnt himself attempting the same segment (Paris is exceptionally strong and well suited to power efforts like this one), and was probably sure that I’d just hit it very hard by my body language.

With roads still sodden, we rolled to the pub together and recounted our efforts. Neither of us were particularly confident of Talbot Hill, although we were certain and happy with top 10s. The bluetooth engaged, I scrolled through Strava to the segment I most wanted to see… I’d claimed the first boule hill! Fair to say it was a satisfying ale.

Time: 1:01

Average Speed: 41.3km/h (that’s right – uphill, in the wet, no drafting)

Average Heart Rate: 176bpm

Max Heart Rate: 184bpm

Average Power: 517 Watts

Max Power: 803 Watts

KAB Wednesday

Back to the Tower

Hard slog on the Hour of Power this morning. Matt pulling about 90% of the time, with the bunch whittling down to 4. Awful head winds allowed me to tuck in nicely behind Matt, but also meant my turns on the front were unpleasant. But all a warm up anyway…

A couple more digs on Bagot Rd at the end of the Hop and I felt nicely warmed up. Time to hit Wayne Tower again. This time I took the opposition’s strategy – getting a run up on Flinders St. It works well. Over 50kmh into the first corner. Kept it level the whole way – I’d get ahead taking the corners hard, but would drop behind on the slight downs. Dead level on the ups. Dead level at the end. Not getting the tail wind I expected.

The final straight – should I stand up and sprint, or try and stay aero? I opted for the latter, hoping I’d get picked up by some wind eventually. The wrong strategy in the end – the sprint would have hurt, but I think a few extra watts would have given me a second. Until another day.

Revisiting Stuart Park…. Again

Save Some Legs

This segment I stumbled upon by accident. Often part of the warm-up for Hell’s500’s RFWYA, it involves the steep pinch of Hodgson St, with a left turn onto Nolan Ave at the top, left and down Walmer St, followed by a right onto the Boulevard and finishes at the top of the first boule hill, before the Studley Park Rd turn-off. With a decent enough time posted one Tuesday morning, this one seemed a great segment to target. And it is dif-e-cult!

Take Hodgson St too easy, and you’ll fall too far behind. Hit it with too much pace and your lungs will be bleeding too early. You’ve gotta get it just right. And then hold that effort for a short, flat TT, followed by a downhill TT. And if you’re not already gasping for air and looking for a lie-down, there is a short but painful uphill TT to finish it all off. Ouch!

I love these segments – enough variety to favour no one but a good allrounder over a short distance. With  bit of a warm up on the way there on the boule, I wasn’t feeling amazing about the upcoming attempt, but warm weather can often give you a bit of an advantage, and I rolled down Walmer St regardless. Keeping the barest of momentum as the segment pitches upwards and onto Hodgson St, I started to through a bit of power through the pedals, but not enough to ruin me. 3/4 of the way up and I think I realised that I could ride up this pinch very quickly. I wasn’t hurting too much, and getting a clearer run than I would normally on a Tuesday morning made a difference.

With my heart rate a few beats per minute below my max at the top of the climb, I eased on the pedals to take the left turn, and got a look at the Garmin screen. Well ahead. And my legs felt good. This could be tough – perhaps the current record had a very fast finish. I basically treated the flat on Nolan, and the down on Walmer as recovery to hit the final section hard – probably not the best strategy, but when you have a lead, sometimes it’s best to conserve some energy.

With the right turn onto the boulevard, and the longest stretch of downhill of the segment, another glance down at the screen revealed that I was now barely ahead of the KOM. Shit. Time to hit it hard again. Whilst my power was not overly impressive for this descent, my cadence hovered around 110rpm – clearly showing I was trying hard to keep in front. And rounding the final major corner, into another uphill, I got back on the gas with an output back over 600W to get over the gear. For about half of that final hill, I managed to hold about 40km/h, holding close 400W for it’s entirety, fading with speed only in the closing metres, surpassing the previous KOM by 10 seconds.

Shot like an old horse, I limped under the Studley Park Rd Bridge, turned around with my heart still pounding and lungs feeling singed, and rolled out the lactic in my legs to go and have a crack at some other segments in Kew. Right near the bridge, there was a total fire ban sign. Pretty sure I ignored it.

IMG_20160119_164246Average heart rate – 176bpm

Max heart rate – 188bpm

Average Speed – 36.8km/h

Average Power – 332 W

Time – 4:33

Total Fire Ban