|The drive home over Mt Hotham on the Monday|
We drove up on the Friday and I knew I was undertrained and underdone for such a big mountain event and it was going to take a lot of mental toughness to get through it, I had just slightly underestimated my preparation.
The event is THE TOUR OF BRIGHT
Day One:- 91km (plus 5km controlled bit) trace which takes in Tawonga Gap and Rosewhitew Gap. It is very beautiful and Tawonga Gap is the tough bit
Then in the afternoon (I had two hours between one and the other (approx)
ITT - 16km (or thereabouts)...very undulating
Day Two - 56km from Bright to the top of Mt Hotham and this incorporates some Alpine climbs and is stunning scenery and some tough climbs
|Mountain climbers legs - not sure which age group but they were winners!|
|The road along this alpine road just keeps going on forever.|
Well lining up at the start I was quite anxious and there were nearly 30 riders in my grade, which was awesome. I was thinking we will cruise out to the hills and the pace will go on then! - WRONG
The pace was on early and the first 30km and we were around 40kph a lot. I am not sure who was putting the pace on, but it was steady the whole time.......Then Rosewhite the first climb and I was dropped, I think a bit more training would have seen me hang on here, but I was being kind to my legs and just getting through the day. On the downhill we ended up with a group of five and on the next climb we all split up again and I ended up placing 14th overall on the stage (pretty happy with that)....My climbing was very steady and constant and I felt ok although hot. I tried to maintain my 39/27 at a cadence of 70 which gave me something to aim for and a few times I got it to 80 (but not for long).......
The TIME TRIAL - I must admit in my warm up, I knew my legs were feeling this mornings race, so I wasnt sure what to expect, the girl who was leading our grade started her time trial 20 seconds ahead of me which was good as I had a good rider to chase.......and I did chase and chase and she ended up putting about 20 seconds into me, but it was a great challenge and I came 5th in the ITT which was great as I had told people I wanted a top 5 placing (in your own head though that still means that you would dearly love to win it....and I didn't, but I was happy with my ride, I felt that I had put in as much as I could.).
HOTHAM ---- I will say that again a bit louder this time HOTHAM!!!. Our race commissaire said to us at the start, that if we get dropped not to panic but to get to the end, and that was an awesome thing to say as I had that little voice in my head that was doubting myself.....The first 26km were pretty flat and we rode like a friendly bunch and in fact I spoke to a few girls and there were some like me "just want to get to the end", then the hill (mountain actually) starts with about 1km of 10%ish which is a shock and I remembered how tough this mountain is. Then there is about 8ish km of constant climbing and a section called the MEG a KOM part and I lost my rhythm completely and never found it again, the road flattens out for a while, where you are on a climb, but not very steep and about 5 of us regrouped, I knew I was in trouble then when I couldnt hold their wheels and we were not going flat flat out........and I dropped off.......over the last 7km my speeds were dropping into the 7ish and 8ish, I was GONE.....my gears had been jumping and I could only use my 25 and 27 on the back and I was suffering from hunger flat...OH and my legs were trashed .....just any excuse that you could throw in there....it was my worst ride for ages!
How do you know when you have hunger flat?-
- you cant move your legs
- you look at empty gel packets wondering if there is anything in them
- you feel flat as flat
- you cant hold onto wheels that you know you could normally hold
- you want to walk your bike
Then a girl caught me and I asked her if she had any food and she gave me a Gel (THANK YOU SO MUCH...MY PRAYERS WERE ANSWERED).
I picked up for a little while then, but the last two km were tough tough tough. I finally saw the 1km to go sign and I got off my bike and walked about 50m, I was a broken rider then decided riding would be quicker so I rode to the end and I MADE IT!
My Hotham time was 3:05 and about 18th I think and I finished about 13th or 14th overall on GC.......I only had one gel on Hotham and dropped it before I got to eat it all, so I learned that it is better to take too much than not enough...I am so happy to have made it and I feel mentally tougher for the experience and I was driven to egt to the end..........Shane was at the end and that was awesome and I got a ride in a car back to the bottom of the mountain and rode the last 25km back home with Shane - Boxes Ticked and done! Well done to Deb Chambers for an awesome ride on the weekend (even though I couldnt catch her on the ITT, she won the GC and was fantastic)