Monday, May 28, 2012

Tour of japan wrap up

Down town tokyo was the scene for the final instalment of the tour of japan for 2012. A nice flat circuit race of 112km with plenty of big corners made for the ideal way to wrap up a seriously hard week of racing. The big bunch gallop is always a favourite for the crowds and the teams containing the sprinters certainly ensured that this was how the days winner would be decided. Our team was keen for a sprint as our malaysian missile adiq ottman was keen to bang handle bars with the fast men but we knew his best chance would be if we could somehow get some fatigue into the sprinters pins before the final dash for the line. Like every other day our plan was simple, be aggressive and look for any opportunity to break the race up. This was difficult with no breakaway attempt getting more than 6 seconds ahead of the charging peleton but we still launched of the front at any opportunity as we had done all week. Should no breaks survive and the bunch be gruppo compacto then our big strong man will clarke was to put in a bid for glory in the final 5km. My role was to have him up the front and adiq behind will so I could protect him from the wind to maximise his attack and adiq could be behind to ensure nobody could follow his wheel easily. We don't really need to worry to much about this as will clarke is one of the most explosive guys in the peleton and you basically need a nitro booster to attempt to follow but none the less better to make sure he gets away. So to the front I took them as the pace built for the final 5km and out of the corner of my eye all I saw was a flash!! He attacked so hard I had no idea what team outfit he was wearing and he instantly had a good gap. Unfortunately for wilba, larry lactic acid set in once he was with 2km from the line and he was caught. With this happening, myself along with adiq now on my wheel moved our way to front and adiq chose a wheel he wanted to follow. He picked the right one as the wheel he chose ended up winning. Once he was dropped of I went full gas to the front of the bunch to keep the pace as high as possible for the final km and keep at bay any will clarke style attacks from the opposition and wait and see where the malaysian missile would end up. With 500m to go I got swamped by the sprinter and there leadouts and in a tight very scrappy sprint adiq ended up with a great 4th place which is a excellent result considering he is not a pure sprinter so all good all round.

As always with these flat chaotic circuits I am always happy to finish with all my skin still intact and results wise finished 7th on GC, bit of a nothing result really however following my allergy attack on mt fuji it certainly could have been a lot worse and it is always nicer to be more toward the front than back. Our climber chris butler wound up 5th on GC after his sterling ride up mt fuji and the result I am most happy about is the fact that we finished 2nd on team GC, by far the best performance this year as a collective group. Nice we finally have some momentum and now important to keep the ball rolling. So with the race all done and dusted and bikes packed up we headed out for a meal with our major sponsor champion system in down town tokyo. It was about a japanesey as you could get as we gouged ourselves with sushi, pork, fish, and steak and of course a few or there great beers.

A great way to wrap up a great week doing a great race with a great bunch of blokes.

Time to head home to tassie and do some serious training!! Super duper motivated!!

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Saturday, May 26, 2012

Tour of japan stage 4

Today was an absolute dusy!! Not only did our 2 kings of chinese cycling, pengda and xu gang finish 2nd and 3rd respectively they achieved it on what can only be described as the most incredible racing circuit created for a bike race. Measuring 12km in length and climbing 400m in altitude each lap, it is not only never , and I repeat never flat but also you are never not turning a corner!! As nasty as it sounds it is a purpose built circuit for rd cycling apart of the japanese cycling school which also is the base of there world famous keiren school. This is basically where riders are like jockeys who race a series of races where they ride the same bike and wheels and even dress like a jockey. The big draw card of the sport is the millions of dollars which are gambled on the race annually. Amazingly all the corners were incredibly safe and the course flowed remarkably well. So not only did you have to deal with the fatigue but also fight dizziness and motion sickness as even after completing the course 12 times I still had no idea where I was going. Quite an incredible day of racing.

It unfolded nicely how we had planned, a break away went clear early with our powerhouse will clarke inside it providing a great chance for the stage win. The nippo team of the leader were forced to work to keep the time gap to break undercontrol and this gave the 5 of us the luxury of sitting in the bunch and saving our legs in the event will and his breakaway were caught. It was the slowest race I have ever done and in the end the average speed was only 31kmph, also we had climbed 4500m in 140km so it was obviously not the easiest day on the bike despite the slow speed. Non the less it felt easy for us as we could hide in the bunch and eat and drink as the calories were definitely going to be called upon in the final laps should the race light up. And this is what happened, with 3 laps or around 40km to travel the pace ramed up and the group got small but we were all still there. At this point I took the decision to work for adiq for the small bunch sprint should will be caught as he had the best chance of winning. With 15km to race will was caught and I immediately took up the pace making to deter anyone from trying to attack as per our plan. With about 10km to race will felt the pace was a little to solid and adiq was suffering a bit so I stopped riding and as I swung off my ever alert chinese team mate pengda had not heard will and assume I was finished and shot out of the bunch that quick that I could not even tell if it was one of our riders or not!! I had not seen him all day and after just 20km he had been dropped but being the incredible fighter he is he hung tuff and was now leading the race with 8km to travel. He was soon joined by a few more including our other chinese rider at the race xu gang and fivesome formed the group that would ultimately contest for the stage victory. Back in the bunch us five now played policemen and bullied anyone who attempted to ride across to ensure our men had there chance for glory. In the end they were outclassed by the most successfull and experience professional from the asia region, kam po wong, however mopping up 2nd and 3rd was still a great days work for the champion system team. Meanwhile in the bunch I again took to the front with 1km to go to lead out adiq as had been planned for the win however this time for 6th place which he easily took and with all 6 of our riders ultimately finishing in the top 20 it was a great days racing for our you team. Certainly the best team performance to date so great to see our constant improvement.

One more stage to go tomorrow on the streets of down town tokyo which will be awersome so we will be looking to set up our malaysian missile for the sprint which we are confident he can suck all there helmets of in!!

From tokyo


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Friday, May 25, 2012


Following our 2 days of racing here in japan we enjoyed yet another relaxing rest day as we drove to the site of our next stage, mt fuji. Today was the 3rd stage and it measured only 11km as it went straight up mt fuji. No gentle run in, not even a few circuits at the base to warm up the pins, simply line everybody up and straight into the the 10% slopes of japans most famous mountain.

I was really excited about todays stage, I had gently ridden up it yesterday and was optimistic that I could do a good job today. My lungs on the other hand had a different idea and as light rain started to fall I suffered an allergy attack and had the pleasure of hyper ventilating my way up the final 5km of the mountain. So a disaster day for me and frustrating due to these attacks being out of my control and always seeming to come when I am in a great position, anyways will get it sorted with all the required tests when back in aus next week.

At the start of the day we had very distinctive objective objectives, to get me on the podium and go for the win with chris and myself. The plan was simple, follow a solid tempo to the steepest section which began at 5km to go where at which point chris would attack and go for the stage win, hopfully put all the others in the red zone, and I could lock into my tt mode and grind up the hill and gradually ride away aswell. Chris did a great job doing his part and initially it looked to work perfectly and he put the 3rd and 4th placed riders in difficulty but unfortunately as I began my quest to overhaul them my lungs started using a mind of there own and it was all over. Chris was marked by the same 2 nippo team riders that had demolished me the day before and went onto finish a very brave 3rd and achieved a great result on the queens stage of the race.

Now its lights out time in a hotel with a difference. We are in a traditional style hotel so no shoes and we are sleeping on the floor so yet another cultural adventure for a day in which we climbed the countries famous landmark. Nothing like team bonding when all six of us are stacked into a room with merely enough room to role out our footons let alone swing a cat!!

All in all its been a great experience in japan and a look at tomorrows race map would indicate that another day of excruciating carnage is on the menu!!

As always, looking forward to it

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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Tour of japan stage 3

For the first time in the tour of japan we strung together 2 days of racing with stage 3 taking place on a 12km circuit which we completed 12 times. It included a 2km climb and was never flat so provided a great opportunity for the race to blow appart. Our plan was simple, make it as hard as we could and bank on our boys from champion system coming to the for in the closing laps of the race. Hard we made it, from lap 1 infact as the peleton immediately started to decimate. After just 3 laps there were only 40 riders left and after 5 laps only 30 riders. With 7 laps to go I decided that was still to many and attacked and soon the race was down to 13. With 2 laps to go the nippo team with 2 strong climbers forced the pace on the climb and blew that group appart, while initally I was able to follow I would lose contact and 4 were left in front with myself and another rider dangling behind at 30seconds. It stayed this way for the next lap and on the climb I was able to close a little but once the 4 hit the top for the final climb the 2 team mates took off again and put another 30seconds into us leaving me 1min behind and 2 other riders in the middle at 30seconds. The nippo team certainly have made a strong statement that they are here to dominate and in the past 2 days they have certainly put us all to the sword. After us it was a minute or so back to our breakaway companions and the damage continued further down with small groups all coming accross the line. On paper it looked like the 3rd hardest stage of the race so I am pretty fearfull of what the 2 hardest stages look like that we will tackle after another rest day tomorrow.

So was a day that we had a plan and stuck to it and in the end I did not quite have the endurance and explosive climbing power I expected. The next stage heads up mt fuji so I will be counting on my diesel style engine to help me out there. Certainly a backward step today but with so much hard km to come will keep forcing and fighting until we get to the finish in tokyo.

Will need a bucket of rice to refuel and a good long massage. After that I amy even have a japanese spa to get the muscles ready for the run to the finish!!

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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Tour of japan stage 2

Stage 2 of the tour of japan went of without to many fire works, that is untill we crossed the finish line but I will get to that in a minute. On paper it looked hardish but only if raced hard, it wasn't raced hard and as a consequence finished in a bunch sprint. This was exactly the outcome our team was trying to avoid as we were keep to retain the overall lead and perhaps even launch will to another stage win but it was not to be. Try as we might however with first will lighting up the only climb on the course on the second last lap before I made a bid to break things up on the final lap but with 4km run into the finish a large group reformed before the line and the argentine sprinters from the nippo team showed a clean pair of heels in the bunch gallop. With there win the also inherited the race lead relegating will to 2nd.

As for the fireworks, well as we crossed the line a heap were let off which startled me so much I stopped pedaling with 100m to go as I thought we were being shot at! The japanese sure know how to put on a show and as a result we all arrived at the finish safe and sound and ready to put on a show tomorrow. 12x12km laps await us tomorrow with a 2km climb every lap so we may very well get the harder day that I believe will suit my champion system men!!

Time for some shuteye

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Monday, May 21, 2012


Following yesterday's 2.6km prologue the organizers of the 2012 tour of japan decided we needed a day to recover so called a rest and travel day today for us to move to the town for stage 2. Not really, stage 1 was cancelled at the last minute and there was no time to organize and alternative race course so today was a freebie!

This gave myself and my fellow champion system co horts the opportunity the mingle with representatives from champion system here in japan and enjoy some sight seeing in the kyoto region. We visited a goodluck garden which we and counting on paying dividends for our time here in japan and then enjoyed a traditional tofu lunch in a traditional japanese style as you can see by the photo with us all seated on the floor for the meal. So a great way to enjoy a free day in japan before we drove to the town for the start of stage 2, Gifu, which is also the sight of the 2005 rowing world championships which I competed in. We did a quick lap of the 25km circuit we will tackle 7 times tomorrow before enjoying a massage and now the time has again come to sleep on my rice pillow.

Really looking forward to tomorrow, specially seen as though I am pretty much a local in the area following my time here on the lake in 2005!!! and expecting all the home town support that goes with it!

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Sunday, May 20, 2012

Stage 1 tour of japan

tour of japan for 2012 kicked off today and the champion system boys including my good self are here for the week long adventure. Expect the unexpected in asian based races and today was different. Different this time in a very positive way!! William clarke, fellow tasmanian, part time farmer and the rest of the time the nicest guy you would ever meet WON THE 1ST RACE OF THE season for our new team!!! The 2.6km prologue TT was a perfect hit out for the big powerhouse and he did not dissapoint romping home in 3min 18sec, a whole, wait for it, 1sec ahead of his team mate! Yours truly cameron james wurf!! We not only share the same team but also the same middle name being James which must have given us a good oman for todays stage.

Being 2.6km and 3min long it was pretty much full gas and whoever was committed the most on the corners, perhaps this is where wilba showed he had a bigger set of you know whats than me but i was happy with my cornering for the day and gave it all i had so no regrets. I was the last rider to start which is a position usually reserved for race favourites so i have no idea why they put me back there but fortunately i maintained some pride with my second place finish and kept suspence in the crowd which was what i might point out MASSIVE, i think half of osaka was crowded around the circuit today, easily 20000 people so a big thanks to all those that turned out to cheer us on. In my humble opinion i feel we put on a pretty good show.

So the leaders jersey for the 1st time this season is in our possession and we will be doing all we can to ensure it is still with the team when we finish up in tokyo city on sunday.

Time for a celebratory glass of champer's!!

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Saturday, May 5, 2012

Cinco de mayo! Gila crit

Today in cinco de mayo and if you are unaware of what it stands for it is simply the 5th of may in Spanish which is also the national day for Mexico. It is pretty cool then that I happen to be very close to Mexico and be in new Mexico for this occasion and I sent the day or more specifically the evening racing my bike. Tonight they had the criterium of the tour of the gila, a 70km street circuit for all the locals to come and enjoy on there national day of celebration. I have never done a race where I have been so distracted by the smell of food anywhere in the world. One one corner there was the taco and burrito stand and another the spit roast was churning over and on another the spare ribs were being dished out left right and centre. Surface to say I made the decision very early in the race that as soon as we were all done and dusted I was heading strait for the burrito stand to get in on the action, this corner smelt the best!!! The race for me was simply another good training run, just stayed up the front out of trouble and avoided any potential crashes so I was happy with the evenings events. The Americans are crit specialists as they race them week in week out so was good to see first hand how it's done. With a full lineup of 8 riders I look forward to helping set up one of our sprinters later in the year in one of these races because they are really fun. Really fast and always something happening, it is kind of like a road race version of a time trial. Tomorrow is the final stage and kindly nicknamed the gila monster so as I am feeling better and better each day I am looking forward to seeing what I and my lungs can handle on my final day racing at altitude. Time for some rest Cjw

Friday, May 4, 2012

gila stage 2 & 3

Ysterday the 2nd stage of the tour of the gila down here in new mexico went to script. The race has been going for 28years on the same course and to my knowledge the same thing happens on pretty much every stage every year. For stage 2 a field sprint is the choice for the finale and one of only 2 sprinting opportunities of the race so the sprinting teams dont want to miss the chance to strech there legs so to speak. I had heard that a strong wind in the final 10km can split things up a little so was excited and well positioned for such an event after it being my undoing on the previous day. Alas as we rounder the corner the flags were limb and the group promply followed the status quo with the sprinters lining up there men for much anticipated bunch gallop. I have pretty much written this race off to a good training week so made sure i did not got tangled up in any crazy moves and finished safly toward the front of the bunch. The stage won by the very organised bissal team whom like they did the day before lit it up at exactly the right moment and delived there fastman to the line so hats off to them. Today was a day i was really looking forward to being the time trial. I have been working much better on my TT bike this year and enjoy any opportunity to race against the clock in anger. After paying the price early in the race for going to hard and litteraly exploding and imploding at the same time, i made sure i just put in a good solid effort today and finished it off as strongly as i started. I achieved this and while i lost 1min to the eventual winner and was a medioca 12th place on the line i will take some positives away from it as i feel that it shows i am adapting to the racin g at altitude and also on a bad day i was not so far behind. It was a techniqual course not as far as corners go but as far as it was up and down and hard to judge gearing and where to put in the efforts. I had a plan and stuck to it and in some ways it was good and some it was not so good and also need to chose a little better the equipment next time to make use of the decents where i was touching 75kmph but could easily turn it into 80-85 with the right gearing on my bike. In any case it was ok and an improvment as far as performance and application from the previous days. I am now really starting to get excited about the days and races ahead which comes with being a little closer to the front than the back. Also i managed to not be overtaken by anyone which is always a nice feeling specially as i overtook a few guys along the way which is good for the confidence. Tomorrow sees us do a 65km critirium so will be a good fast motorpace session before the race wraps up on sunday with the gila monster which as the name suggests is quite a beast of a stage which will certainly show who is the strongest man in the race so i am looking forward to that one. cjw

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

gila stage 1

the first stage of the tour of the gila was yet another not so enjoyable day for me. The not so great days are becoming a little to common so i need to pull my finger out and start racing and not just riding. I felt very good going into the race today and had all the right feelings in my legs to finally break this far from impressive racing performance period. I light of feeling great i approached the stage with a positive outlook and an expectation that i would be at the front. The day was in reality the type of day i dispise most, first day of a tour with an entirely fresh peleton and a small breakaway forming very early meaning that the stage was ridden at a pedestrian pace. This all makes positioning and preparing for difficult sections all the more chaotic, specially when we only have 4 riders as appose to the 8 on apposing teams. Basically half the weight to throw around. Having dsaid that we and i should have been more than capable of being at the front when required and that was were i found myself today. After a 140km drag race we hit the final 10km climb and on what i knew to be the crucial crosswind section 4km from the top i was safely tucked in the leading group of about 8 riders and felt like all was going to plan. I had suffered hard to be there and knew at altitude i had to be carefull not to go too deep into the red as you cannot recover from it. It was too late for that as i had had to go deep just to make what i flet would be and turned out to be the decisive split and now just had to tuff it out for the final 4km. At this point things went wrong. As the lull hit our small group, two of my old team mates from local domestic team bissal hit the gas which sparked the action. This is also the moment i made my first error! instead of following these two guys i hesitated in the safety of our small group and left it for the united health care boys who had 2 riders to react which they did and ultimately won the stage. When they lifted the pace i was suddenly out of position a little bit as a few riders had closed the gap to our group during the lull and swamped. These guys quickly got dropped again but with me now behind them meant i was also dropped and now going full gas to close the small gap. At this point i went way over my limit at altitude and was intantly gasping with every open orifus for air and my body just would not give me any more turbo time. I started slipping back and with it the adrenaline of being at the front of the race and with this i kept falling further and further back till i realized the front was long gone and i would st up and relax and save my enery for the very hard 4 stages still to come. This is somthing i am not proud off as it is a race i want to be at the front and not be playing for the lottery of getting lucky in the stage. Unfortunately the domestic mentality of getting my leader to the front and then relaxing and saving energy is too deeply engrained in me and i need to shake it out as that is not so much my role on this team. Anyway today was a big missed opportuntity and i am the first to take responsibility for it. Somtimes you forget everybody is suffering and i have certainly had my fair share of days suffering beyond what i could imagine. On this occassion the united health and bissal boys really layed it down when it was a hard mans point to do it so i need to go and drink a big bucket of concrete and start getting back amongst the action!!! cjw

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Bould over

Following my little foray onto European soil next stop on the team champion road show is the USA for the SRAM tour of the gila in new Mexico. The race is quite unique in that it raced entirely at an altitude of above 1800m which greatly adds to the intrigue of the event. The try and better prepare myself for this added element of the the event I have arrived in America 1 week early to spend some time in boulder Colorado which is at a similar altitude for some specific training to simulate what I may!!! Experience in new Mexico. Boulder Colorado has been a destination that I have wanted to visit for some time. It is quite a mythical place within the cycling fraternity and not surprisingly home of not only many professional cyclists but athletes in general from all over the world. It did not take long for me to realize this as I saddled up on my first morning with former team mate and local bouldarian Timmy duggan. Simply there are healthy fit bods everywhere, on the Rd, footpath, pool and the surrounding parks and ovals. Not to mention the gyms that seems to be on every corner and I am going to take a wild stab in the dark and say that there would definately be more fitness centers per capita than any other town in the world. Once out of town and on the training rds it did not take long to realize why 1000's of road cyclists and triathletes have cosen these Rds for training over the years. The town sits at 1800m of altitude and if you look left or right, depending on which direction you are facing, it is pancake flat as far as the eye can see. If you look left or right again depending on which direction you are facing you will be confronted by the quite imposing Colorado Rockies and thus make it the perfect training ground for riding a bike. TT work and specific flat intervals can all be done without a drama and for those whom desire to go skyward there is simply a climb for all occasions. From the 30km 3% drags to the 10km 15% nose bleeder climbs for those looking to accumulate as much lactic acid as they can during there session. Timmy showed me all the main training routes and although I am sure there are many hidden treasures which I will hopefully uncover on another visit. He also took me on the Thursday night bunch ride, "the busstop ride" which leaves at 5pm from the traffic lights on the north hand edge of town. Timmy warned me that if you can show yourself to be the strongest in this bunch then there is a good chance that a big victory is just around the corner. I took his comment with a grain of salt but I certainly realized what he was talking about within the first 30min of the scheduled 2hr loop when I had left my lungs on the Rd some minutes previously and was now in the process of trying to convince my Brain to keep my legs turning to keep me in the group purely from the point of view that if dropped out of the group I had no idea where I was and certainly no energy to get myself home!! Fortunately m brain and heart and legs continued to turn over and purely out of pride I managed to keep myself at the front and even do a few very soft token turns on the front of the group, the whole time with my heart rate north of 180 beats per min an With the altitude thrown in and my arrival the day before I was learning a whole new level of suffering. I just kept telling myself not to forget it's how hard you can push yourself once your tired thats important! Lotto professional Greg Henderson was the main protagonist of the group ride and while many locals certainly pulled there weight also it will take a mighty strong and fast sprinter to knock off hendy once he rejoins the peleton in a couple of weeks as he builds toward the tour de France. So once the 2hrs of humiliation was over and i was roping home giving my body the much awaited opportunity to consume some oxygen that would actually reach my muscles and also try and find my lungs that had deserted me 2hrs earlier, I was definitely convinced that this was not only the hardest bunch ride I had ever done but perhaps harder than any race I have done in the past. Also was on my mind that i had now done 190km and 6hrs of riding for the day and i had only planned to do 4 so my stomach was in desperate need of filling. Fortunatly i was in the perfect city to meet this demand as i will touch on a little later. This altitude racing is certainly going to be be whole different type of suffering. So the training is fantastic in the boulder, that is no ground breaking news but what makes the town perhaps so great for athletes is the town and community itself. It has in place certain rules that prevent big chains from flooding the town and as result the city is filled with privately owned restaurantes and shops that cater for all walks of life. Being a town filled with such fit and healthy people the food options are often organic or at the very least super fresh. With all due respect to the rest of this monsterous country it is not a quality i have found in any other city or town. This also goes for the supermarkets so for the athlete desireing to be as healthy as possible and particularly for me that is all to often temped away from the healthy option, having delicious helathy nutritional options all around you maks it alot easier to give the body what it needs when training at a resonably intense level. All these ingredients certainly seemed to help me as i was there for 6 days and trained as if i would have if i had been at home in hobart for 6 months. It reminds you also what being in a such a positive environment can do for your moral and inturn your productivity. In this case i had just travel 14hrs on a plane from one continent being europe to another being america, also arrived at an altitude that would enable me to hit a golf ball 50m further (as a result of the thin air not my ability with a golf club), dealt with 8hrs of time zone change and i honestly felt like i went about my daily business as if none oif this had occured. So my time in boulder has now come to an end but for sure i will be back. I am now down in Silver City new Mexico preparing for the race that drew me to the continent in the first place. I have to say a big thanks to boulder for living up to all the hype and more and making it such an enjoyable few days. Certainly feeling as well prepared for the racing adventure that faces me this week down here in new mexico. In my time in boulder i have uncatorgoricaly come to the conclusion that it is the fittest per capita population in the world! I hope a little bit has rubbed of on me.