Monday, October 20, 2008

Around the Bay - 250km

The ride:

Feeling a little nervous before the start, with my longest ride in the last 4 months consisting of a 2.5 hour burn up Bobbin Head with Luke and knowing that this one was going to take 7.5 hours at absolute best. Weather forecast was for northerly winds followed by an early morning south westerly change with drizzle. Could this be a tailwind all the way around?!?!?!

Got ready and went to bed at 10pm for a 05:00 start. Pillow felt like it was a sack of plastic bags and the temperature in the hotel room was all wrong. Didn't help the sleep and by my reckoning I got a total of about 4 hours.... awoke before the alarm and got dressed for the race. Stuffed my self with food and headed out the door, to greet the early morning southerly change. No we know, by early they mean 4am , not 10am when you want it.

Left father's "oldies" group and met up with some of the lads from the Hunters Hill splinter group (a funny story that one) and headed to the race start. Crowds were quite manageable, just a few people unfamiliar with bunch riding slamming on their breaks every now and then. Much easier to deal with at the start of the day when you've got your wits about you. Along the freeway at a decent kip ~38kph, but broken up by the on-off tactic from the local roads authority. They made the route take each exit and entrance from the free way, with a set of lights thrown in. Still, better than the route through nowhereville they took us through last year. Towards the end of the freeway section the group split up so it was just Bill and John with me and the rest falling behind. Opting to play it safe at the early sages of the ride.

Heading out of Geelong and taking the split to the 250km route the groups started to thin out. Bill took the bit between the teeth and really picked up the tempo. Caught up to a good group and then started working with a few strong riders. They turned out to be rather strong riders, and when they took the front the pace quickly picked up. 35........37.....40......42........and goodbye...... the combination of the rolling hills and bumpy energy sapping bitumen roads had taken it's toll, John popped moments after me, followed much latter by Bill (who may have just been waiting for us to catch up). Silly stuff to be doing a few hours into a rather long ride. We slackened off a little bit and finished the trip round Portarlington at a slightly more comfortable, but still uncomfortable, 34kph average. Bill was in the best form doing most of the lead work with short turns from John and myself.

Rolled into Queenscliff at about 10:10am and just had enough time to grab some lunch and head to the 10:30am ferry across to Sorrento. Ate as much food as I could stuff down on the trip over the bay (sandwich, cake, muesli bar, gel, powerbar and bag of nuts). The prm0ised drizzle arrived as we disembarked the ferry and made for a miserable 40min. Damp sandy roads sending damp sandy spray into the eyes. However, this didn't last too long and the sun came out. enough to dry the glasses and clean up the roads. Feeling rather comfortable and getting to a bit of a groove before the two big (by Melbourne standards) hills hit, and hard. Bill was feeling great and led the charge with John and I struggling to hang on. Which we just managed to do.

Bill, frustrated by the slow pace, then proceeded to lift it, which lead to the dropping of John, and then there were two. Towards the 200km mark I found myself actually feeling really good and Bill and I started trading turns, hopping from group to group, averaging about 36-40 kph. As we approached Melbourne with some 10k to go I was feeling even better and had excess energy with a seriously short amount of bay left to use it. Down on the drops and sprinting between the lights into town, I managed to drop Bill just before the end and even put in a ~700W sprint for the line. nice!

All in all a great day, no flats mechanicals or other incidents with my energy levels fairly good all day. The "300g Bag of Snakes" guide to ride nutrition worked out superbly.

So, if you need good conditioning for long rides. Don't do long rides. Do the 1750!

Stats: 248km, 7hr 45min, Avg Speed 31.8, Max Speed 66, Avg HR 141, Max HR 170.

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