Monday, 19 March 2007

Bike Week 07 - The Ride...

Sunday, what a day. Well what a morning anyway. Some of the RACQ IT guys had decided we’d put a team in for the Bike Week 2007 ride. I must admit I was a touch apprehensive because my usual riding pattern is a 10k ride through the hills of Ipswich which takes me about half an hour.

This ride was a 60 kilometre ride starting and finishing at Southbank in the city. I wasn’t quite aware of exactly how taxing that would be. We met at the entrance to Southbank at 7am, ready for our 7:30 start – straight away I felt slightly out of place as most of the other RACQ guys had their road bikes and I knew I’d have to work much harder on my mountain bike. Luckily one of the other guys was on a mountain bike as well. To make me feel even more out of place they all decided to start with the ‘elite riders’ (supposedly able to average over 28km/h for the whole 60ks).

Well we took off and wound out way through the city, along the Riverside Expressway and Coronation Drive, and I think for that bit I would have been averaging the 28ks, but then we hit St Lucia and Indooroopilly, and the hills got me. For a 60k ride they had some massive hills in the first 10ks and I lost a lot of momentum through that area, I ended up loosing Matt (RACQ guy on the mountain bike) who seems to handle the hills better than I.

Another bit of poor planning I feel was that the first rest point was 35ks in, over half way (and the hardest half at that) and the second rest point at 45ks. So by the time I made the first rest point I was pretty dead, and then the second came up pretty quick.

However just before the second stop I came a cropper! There was a really REALLY steep hill, and I’d caught Matt again so was trying to keep up with him up the hill. About halfway my right thigh cramped badly. In the initial shock of it I lost balance and hit the gutter, performing a nice cartwheel onto the grass. Nothing hurt except my cramping thigh, which took about 10 minutes to settle down, and Matt was long gone by then, he didn’t even see me come off, got to the top of the hill looked back and wondered where I went.

Overall I think it was the most physically gruelling thing I’ve ever done. I didn’t realise exactly how tough 60ks would be – and with trying to keep up and catch up to Matt I pushed harder than I would have on a leisurely ride. I averaged 21km/h for the whole trip, which on a mountain bike is pretty good I think (for me I think it’s great!!!). Coming back into Southbank 60ks and 2 ½ hours later gave me a huge sense of accomplishment… I’d run a race, with only my pain threshold and self-doubt to beat, and I’d prevailed. I felt pretty good, even though I was stuffed.

Good confidence booster (until I heard the other RACQ guys finished 40 minutes before me :-P).

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