Archive for October 2014
Last day in the old REA office at 678 Victoria St. It was 30º outside and with instructions to vacate by 1pm, there was an opportunity to be snatched by turning a crank toward Mt Pleasant Rd.
62km. 2:30h. 1,009m.
I went for a little ride with a bunch of dudes who were raising money for something to do with disadvantaged kids’ eduction in my in-law’s little home town of Benalla today. I signed up because it was an easy way to get 125km in and I figured it’d turn into a race eventually anyways.
We had mild cross winds for most of the day, and we managed to get a smooth rolling double pace line rolling before long and got to eating up the miles. At the 60km mark though, half the bunch (including more than a few solid riders) took the short-cut turn for home. The rest of us rolled on, and though there were more than a few strong dudes, there were also three of four who consistently pulled through too hard, breaking up the bunch and making things harder than they needed to be.
The front end of the course was pretty flat, but descended at times into lovely, wide, shady valleys in the foothills of the Victorian Alps.
We turned around when the road turned to gravel. With 30 or 40 km to go, we put our noses into the wind. Two guys, one the size and shape of Richie Porte, put daylight between themselves and the rest of us.
The working group steadily became smaller, as rider after rider declined to take another pull. At one stage there were four of us towing the rest of the group. One of the local boys dropped back and confirmed that the riders on our tail were feeling pretty smoked, we rounded a corner and the road pointed up. The only hills of the day, relatively small rollers, would sort out who’d cross the line first. The local guy kicked for 20-30 pedal strokes. I watched him pull away strongly, thinking ‘yup, that’s the move’, then got up and put my head down. Within a minute the two of us were back together, and got to working on bringing back the other two guys who weren’t more than a couple of hundred metres up the road.
At one point I lost the wheel and dangled, off in the wind, for some time, but the gap didn’t grow, and over the next rise I found myself back on. We were closing steadily on riders one and two, who looked like they were starting to lose their organisation, when I started to feel a little heavy in the legs. I let a gap open, and when I commanded my legs to close it up I found they’d left their post. The gap became metres, I stood up. Sat down. Shifted. Head down. Head up. And sat up.
My buddy looked back and slowed, but I waved him forward. I figured I could recover and work my way back in, but as we came out of the hills I found myself slowing more, getting more uncomfortable. I turned onto the road home. Big, open and hot. I slowed again, and sat up.
Fuck. I felt like throwing up. Over the next 10km, I contemplated pulling over to hurl two or three times but thought better of it. With 10km to go my head throbbed, my legs felt swollen; fat and painful. I shifted down two or three times and tried not to count the kilometres to home with dead eyes on the horizon, arrow-straight road flat all the way to the converging point.
Rider after rider passed me before the outskirts of town, and I couldn’t have been happier to get back to the civic centre, down a Solo and get in the car. At my wife’s folks’ place I took a very long shower, put my feet against a wall for a while and then fell asleep on the couch for a solid two or three hours.
This is my story about bikes, riding well, riding bad, wanting to throw up and naps.
124km. 3:48h. 682m.
After a heeuuuuuge week at work, I almost didn’t bring my bike to Benalla for the weekend because we were only on a flying visit. I did however, just in case, and after the three hour drive to get there I jumped directly on the bike and pushed hard out of town.
I pushed hard because I felt like I had a gentle tail wind, or good legs, and wanted to make it round a 60-70km loop before dark. That little tail wind never went away, so I’m taking that as a sign of good legs. Every now and then, the rough old dead as a fuck back-roads chip seal would give way to even deader, rough as fuck old back roads chip seal.
When I rolled back into the gravel drive way of Fee’s parents’ familiar little house the kids were squealing with the joy of shooting each other with the garden hose out the back, and I felt like I’d left all the psychic weight I’d accumulated over the week out on the road.
66km. 2:09h. 224m.