Thursday, July 30, 2009

Local climb data - Sydney and Central Coast

Not sure of the absolute veracity of some of this data - or where it came from, actually - but you can take these figures as a starting point anyway. (Take the records with a grain of salt.) Then buy yourself an i-Bike (or similar) and check it out for yourself ;-)

I have added some description based on my actual knowledge of the climbs.

Hill climbs

Akuna Bay (east)
Start: 1.2km from boat ramp, end of railing r/hand side
Finish: West head turnoff
Dist: 2.7 km
av grad: 4.5%
Record: 6min 10sec (26.3kmh/354W)

Description: Not a hard climb, but consistent. Worth doing as part of a loop from Bayview to West Head and back via Terry Hills. Or vice versa. Little traffic and very scenic, if that helps at all.

Akuna Bay (west)
Start: Illawong Bay Ranger's box, 2km west of Akuna Bay boat ramp
Finish: Ranger's toll booth
Dist: 5.2 km
av grad: 3.4%
Record: 14min 38sec (27.8kmh/387W)

Description: Gradient looks low to me - or maybe I was always tired at this point? I rate it harder than the eastern climb, particularly steep at the 2/3rds mark. If you come back down, watch your speed around the hairpin. Worth doing as part of a loop from Bayview to West Head and back via Terry Hills. Or vice versa. Or add in Cottage Point. Little traffic and very scenic, if that helps at all.

Bobbin Head (west), Bobbin Head Road
Start: end of bridge
Finish: Ranger's toll booth
Dist: 4 km
av grad: 4%
Record: 8min 38sec (27.8kmh/387W)

Description: Not a hard climb, is almost too easy. Worth doing as part of a loop including Galston Gorge.

Bobbin Head (east)
, Bobbin Head Road
Start: 60kmh/3km winding road signs next to kiosk
Finish: Kalkari visitor's centre sign
Dist: 2.94 km
av grad: 5.5%
Record: 7min 26sec (23.7kmh/385W)

Description: Not a legsnapper, but consistent and definitely tougher than the other side. Worth doing as part of a loop including Galston Gorge.

Galston Gorge
Start: 5m from end of bridge
Finish: 50m into Crossland Rd, KOM on edge
Dist: 3.4 km
av grad: 5.7%
Record: 9min 39sec (21.1kmh/378W)

Description: Moderate to painful. Worth doing as part of a loop including Bobbin Head.

Brooklyn to Pie in the Sky
, on the old Pacific Hwy
Start:Intersection of Brooklyn Road, rolling start
Finish:Pie in the Sky
av grad: 5%
Record: 8min 21 sec (32.3kmh/583W)

Description: Not a hard climb, but consistent.


Brooklyn Hill, , on the old Pacific Hwy
Start:Brooklyn Bridge (Brooklyn side)
Finish:55kmh sign, top of hill
av grad: 4.3%
Record: 12min 57 sec (32.3kmh/583W)

Mt White, on the old Pacific Hwy
Start:Metal guard rail on the right side of road 3km from Brooklyn
Finish:65kph advisory speed sign
Dist: 3.1 km
av grad: 6.4%
Record: 7min 50secs (23.7kmh/451W)

Description: Not an easy climb, but consistent and manageable. Moderate to hard.

Mooney Hill, on the old Pacific Hwy
Start: 80kmh sign, Old Mooney Bridge (Gosford side)
Finish:KOM line, top of hill
av grad: 5.95%
Record: 9min 05 sec (24.4kmh/443W)

Description: Despite the gradient it's not too bad. Has its moments but not an absolute leg-snapper.

Kariong Hill, West Gosford - Old Pacific Highway, or Central Coast Highway if you prefer.

Start: 2nd (or last) set of lights after the Mann's Rd intersection, just before the armco starts
Finish: Lights at top, b4 Shell servo
Dist: 3.8 km
av grad: 4%
Record: 8min 38sec (27.8kmh/387W)

Description: Very consistent climb, no hairpins, but watch the traffic in the corners. Moderate.

Bumble Hill, Yarramalong Valley
Start: 90 degree left turn from main road from Wyong (at bottom of hill - it's obvious)
Finish: KOM line, just after the first intersection (don't go left, keep climbing!)
Dist: 3.58 km
av grad: ?%
Record: 14min 23sec (14.9kmh/???W)

Description: Hard. Really hard towards the 2/3rds mark. Don't do it in the wet as rear wheel traction is poor, especially when you are struggling, out of the saddle, barely getting the pedals around.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

FWIW, my take on Le Tour 2009, up to Stage 4

What did you expect the TTT to do to the GC? We always knew - because this always happens - that the strongest TTT teams - like Astana, Garmin, Columbia and Saxo - would dominate. By definition that means time gains - big ones - for GC riders embedded in these teams. GC riders outside of the top 4 or 5, like Menchov and Evans, would lose time. For both of them it was essential to stay in touch prior to stage 4, and then marshall their teams to defend and preserve. At 39km it wasn't too long, but long enough to put at least a minute into most riders. Alas, punctures and falls can cost you dearly, and losing 2 minutes was always possible. You need 5 good strong finishers, and most teams just don't have that firepower.

The less predictable event was the day before - a canny Columbia up front, driving for a stage win - no, that's not a surprise. What was a mild surprise was no one helping (who actually wanted Cav to win again?). That lack of support led to the big effort when the wind was at its best - or worst - forcing the gap and the break. And Columbia not only secured another win but took time off all the GC riders bar a lucky, informed or just plain experienced Armstrong. It's a split-second decision - shall I chase, or wait for someone else to do the work? Every bike racer knows that one. And most of us (thinking 3 weeks is a long time) would have waited, but Armstrong latched on, taking a leap in time over his GC competitors.

But it is a long race and it's not time to panic. Although the details are a mild suprise, the team directors would have thought it all through beforehand and have a plan. The strong TTT teams would have expected stage 4 to bring them to the top, but they don't want the pressure of defending the yellow jersey just yet. So Armstrong in 2nd is cool, if disappointing for his fans. Contador, Kloden and Leipheimer can just sit there and wait, knowing that they have alittle buffer - and lots of attacking opportunities - in the mountains to come.

Meanwhile Cancellara takes yellow, and the pressure of defence. But he and his team know that time will be lost in the mountains. Their are shake ups on GC to come. For Evans and Menchov in particular they would be disappointed to have lost so much time already - and it will be hard to recover - but they would have known and expected to have lost at least a minute. So they are still running close to plan. They will rise again up the order as the mountains arrive and sort the riders out. The big problem will be recovering the time gaps, rather than the placings. But we always knew that.

If we sort the riders out by colour, but in no particular order, my top 11 on GC are in red and 3 more wildcards are in yellow. I'm sure there will be ups and downs and the odd surprise, but that's my best effort for now.

1 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Team Saxo Bank 10:38:07
2 Lance Armstrong (USA) Astana
3 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Astana 0:00:19
4 Andreas Klöden (Ger) Astana 0:00:23
5 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana 0:00:31

6 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Garmin - Slipstream 0:00:38
7 Haimar Zubeldia Aguirre (Spa) Astana 0:00:51
8 Tony Martin (Ger) Team Columbia - HTC 0:00:52
9 David Zabriskie (USA) Garmin - Slipstream 0:01:06
10 David Millar (GBr) Garmin - Slipstream 0:01:07
11 Sergio Miguel Moreira Paulinho (Por) Astana 0:01:16
12 Christian Vande Velde (USA) Garmin - Slipstream
13 Gustav Erik Larsson (Swe) Team Saxo Bank 0:01:22
14 Maxime Monfort (Bel) Team Columbia - HTC 0:01:29
15 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Liquigas 0:01:31
16 Michael Rogers (Aus) Team Columbia - HTC 0:01:32
17 George Hincapie (USA) Team Columbia - HTC 0:01:36
18 Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Astana
19 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas
20 Andy Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank 0:01:41
21 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin - Slipstream 0:01:46
22 Jens Voigt (Ger) Team Saxo Bank 0:02:03
23 Kurt-Asle Arvesen (Nor) Team Saxo Bank 0:02:05
24 Kim Kirchen (Lux) Team Columbia - HTC 0:02:16
25 Fränk Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank 0:02:17
26 Brian Vandborg (Den) Liquigas 0:02:25
27 Vladimir Karpets (Rus) Team Katusha 0:02:31
28 Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas 0:02:32
29 Carlos Sastre Candil (Spa) Cervelo Test Team 0:02:44
30 Nicki Sörensen (Den) Team Saxo Bank
31 Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Liquigas 0:02:50
32 Bert Grabsch (Ger) Team Columbia - HTC 0:02:51
33 Mikel Astarloza Chaurreau (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 0:02:54
34 Luis Pasamontes Rodriguez (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 0:02:56
35 Cadel Evans (Aus) Silence - Lotto 0:02:59
36 Serguei Ivanov (Rus) Team Katusha
37 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Cervelo Test Team
38 Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Team Saxo Bank 0:03:00
39 Mikhail Ignatiev (Rus) Team Katusha 0:03:02
40 Oscar Pereiro Sio (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 0:03:03
41 Hayden Roulston (NZl) Cervelo Test Team 0:03:05
42 Rui Alberto Faria da Costa (Por) Caisse d'Epargne 0:03:06
43 Heinrich Haussler (Ger) Cervelo Test Team 0:03:07
44 Volodymir Gustov (Ukr) Cervelo Test Team 0:03:09
45 Linus Gerdemann (Ger) Team Milram 0:03:11
46 Rigoberto Uran (Col) Caisse d'Epargne 0:03:12
47 Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale 0:03:13
48 Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale 0:03:16
49 Jérôme Pineau (Fra) Quick Step 0:03:17
50 José Ivan Gutierrez Palacios (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne
51 Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne
52 Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Team Katusha 0:03:18
53 Luis León Sánchez Gil (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne
54 Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:03:21
55 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Quick Step 0:03:23
56 Juan Jose Oroz Ugalde (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 0:03:24
57 Gorka Verdugo Marcotegui (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 0:03:25
58 Brett Lancaster (Aus) Cervelo Test Team 0:03:28
59 Frederik Willems (Bel) Liquigas 0:03:32
60 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Team Columbia - HTC 0:03:33
61 Stéphane Goubert (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:03:34
62 Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank 0:03:36
63 Chris Anker Sørensen (Den) Team Saxo Bank
64 Cyril Dessel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:03:38
65 Christophe Riblon (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:03:42
66 Vladimir Efimkin (Rus) AG2R La Mondiale 0:03:44
67 Hubert Dupont (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:03:46
68 Nikolai Troussov (Rus) Team Katusha 0:03:47
69 Aleksandr Kuschynski (Blr) Liquigas
70 Igor Anton Hernandez (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 0:03:48
71 Alexandre Botcharov (Rus) Team Katusha 0:03:51
72 Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank 0:03:52