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Jayco Herald Sun Tour 2015 2.1

13th February 2015

This time last year I was sitting in the Rialto building working for Grant Thornton in Privately Held Business as a Vacationer thinking how great it would be to race in the Herald Sun Tour. Ranked as a UCI 2.1 (the same as Tour of Utah) it would probably be one of the biggest tours I’ll do with Budget Forklifts Cycling Team in 2015.

Signing on stage 4

Signing on stage 4

UCI tours are fantastic to be a part of for a few reasons. Firstly, they usually consist of a few World Tour and Pro Continental teams, so they can offer a very high standard of competition. Cam Meyer was quoted as saying the final stage up Arthurs compared to a World Tour race. Secondly, and most importantly, the event organizers are required to provide a buffet breakfast and dinner for the competing teams! (I’ve previously spoken about my appreciation of a good buffet dinner while racing in the Tour of Utah).

Not only is it because the food is great, but the buffets also give me a feeling of professionalism. That might sound a little odd, but that’s just how I feel about them. Eating some scrambled eggs on toast while looking around at the World Tour riders in the room and studying what they eat for breakfast is entertaining. I feel like everybody is watching what other people put on their plates. But maybe that’s just me again, I’m not sure.

The best buffet we had for the tour would have to be the dinner held at Mitchelton Winery, which is owned by none other than Gerry Ryan. Wine on the house, gourmet food and a live band playing with the Goulburn River as a backdrop is definitely hard to beat. That’s enough about the food though. This tour was a big one and I wanted to give it good crack against these World Tour guys up Arthurs Seat, but I wasn’t sure how it would go.

Private Function at Mitchelton Winery

Private Function at Mitchelton Winery

Probably the biggest thing I can take away from this tour is confidence. Finishing 4th up Arthurs Seat, two seconds down on Simon Clarke and Cam Meyer will give me the confidence next time that I can compete against these guys and potentially beat them. I never felt like I was going to get dropped going up Arthurs during the third climb. That’s not to say it was easy. It definitely wasn’t easy and my average HR of 196 and max of 203 during the 7 minute and 54 second (Strava Official) ascent will tell you that.

There were 7 of us left with 300 meters to go and my chances were always slim coming down to a bunch kick with those remaining riders. The thought of attacking earlier crossed my mind a few times, but with the tempo being so high and a little headwind during many sections it didn’t seem like a good idea. Getting on the podium would have been great, but I’m not disappointed with the result. It shows that I’ve got the ability; I’ve just got to keep chipping away and focus on getting a better result at the next big race.

If I was still in that Rialto Building working away on someone’s tax return hypothesizing the outcomes of the Herald Sun Tour, I think it’s safe to say I would be extremely happy to finish top 10 on GC. I ended up finishing 7th overall.

Here’s a little breakdown of some data from the key climbs during the tour:

Climb

Climb stats

Average Power

Duration

Heart Rate

VAM

Highland Ranges Climb (stage 3)

8.2 km @ 5% average gradient

284 watts

20:45

173 average 183 max

 

1232

Mt Macedon South (stage 1)

5.5km @ 8% average gradient

346 watts

16:22

188 average 202 max

1642

Mt Alexander South (stage 1)

4.9km @ 6% average gradient

369 watts

11:17

192 average 199 max

1438

Arthurs Seat climb #1 (gate to summit – stage 4)

3km @ 8% average gradient

368 watts

8:38

188 average 193 max

1717

Arthurs Seat climb #2 (gate to summit- stage 4)

3km @ 8% average gradient

353 watts

8:52

186 average 192 max

 

1671

Arthurs Seat climb #3 (gate to summit – stage 4)

3km @ 8% average gradient

412 watts

7:54

196 average 203 max

1876

-some of these climbs varied in tempo. Mt Macedon in particular started to pick up in the second half with 10 minutes at over 370, and a few minutes over 400 watts. Mt Alexander has a short descent in the middle. This means Normalised Power (NP) for some of these climbs were a fair bit higher than Actual Power (AP)

I was particularly amused to see the Brenton Candy KOM tweet on stage 1 caught on with a few people, and Peak Cycles joked about winning up Arthurs next year and renaming one of the hairpins as Candy Man Corner with the combined support of Hells 500.

Let’s hope that can happen! At the same time though, I think it’s important to take a step back and accept there is a big difference between finishing 4th on a stage and winning. Maybe I had a really good day up the climb and will be dropped next time in a similar scenario. It will take a lot of work but I’m optimistic that signs of improvement are still undoubtedly visible, and I’ll be able to improve on this result next year.

Arthurs Seat

Arthurs Seat

For now I’m extra motivated to get in a solid block of training after the next couple of races (Oceania’s and Tour of East Gippsland) before the NRS kicks off with Tour of Adelaide. In the meantime, I’ll be dreaming about the next UCI tour with Buffet Meals…

Thanks for reading,
BC

19 comments

  1. It looked like you started the last time up Arthur’s Seat at the back of the main group – there’s a couple of seconds saved right there!

    What was your cadence like at the top last time up? Looked like you were spinning out the gear.

    1. Yeah I was in the little ring at the finish, probably should have been in the big dog for the sprint. (When training I was in the big ring for the last few hundred meters up Arthurs). That being said, Bevin was also in the little ring and he won the stage!

      1. What gearing were you running ?

        1. Standard 53-39 with an 11-25t cassette

  2. Tina Gale Optusnet

    Yay to Brendan Candy!

  3. Great stuff BC. Pretty SOLID average watts and HR last time up Arthurs!

    1. Thanks Stalds. I’m certain you would push very SOLID watts on EVERY single ride you do. I guess nobody will know until you get that power meter installed

  4. Great report & great tour. Well done.

  5. Thanks Brendan, I really enjoy your perspective and writing, and the numbers of course. You’re going really well I reckon. Great to very consciously feel you are still improving. Well done on this Tour.

    1. No worries Nick, thanks for the positive feedback!

  6. So was the highlight doing so well up Arthurs or the free food?

    1. Doing well up Arthurs is definitely the highlight!! Some people on the team complained that the buffet wasn’t that great, but I’ll argue with them all day about it. I will concede that the buffet in Utah on average probably had higher quality food, but a buffet is still a buffet right? Maybe I’ll eat my own words after seeing photos from the buffet at tour of Qatar.

      1. Love ya work 🙂 know it all too well that it’s expensive keeping your stomach full to keep up all the climbing you do. Free food is good food 🙂

  7. I too, one day hope to experience the UCI buffet.
    Great job there BC, the graph seems to be going upward. Keep the food diary coming.

  8. Always back yourself. Great read about your fantastic results BC. Keep going after it!

  9. Fantastic results Brendan, you’ve certainly stamped your potential in front of the big boys this past month! Was great to see you drive past Robert Power in the last 50M too on Sunday! Congrats mate!

    1. Was good to see you out supporting on the hill mate! Must have been some of that endurance riding we did during TDU in Adelaide!

  10. Enjoying the reads. Keep them coming.

  11. Such a great result. Wish I was there to see it!

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