Saturday, 17 July 2010


Melbourne to Ballarat:
We arrived at the starting place early to allow plenty of time to register and warm up. Sadly it was a different place to last year and didn't have the access to back roads. With out rollers that left me a heap of time, and not a heap to do. Result? I found a new companion to go riding with me.


I figured I'd be one of the stronger blokes in the bunch, and I was confident that Ian would be with me at the end, so we joked about taking the win and splitting the four and a half grand cash prize. It'd hurt, but those sort of amounts provide a heap of motivation.

We had 20 or so blokes in our bunch, with everyone rolling turns until just before we reached the hills at Bacchus Marsh. Up the Pentland Hills Rd climb only a few blokes were doing all the work, and Ian was noticeably absent. "It's cool" I thought, he'll just be sitting on up the back, so I kept doing what I could to drag us along.

Up the kicker at Pykes Reservoir a few guys kicked hard, stringing out the bunch and creating a gap that almost killed me to cover. I'm sure it shook a few of the riders we had picked up off the back, as for the others, it ensured they were hurting.

At times it hurt, guys would roll through hard and stretch my limits a little, sure it hurt, but we were going forwards. The worse scenario was when the working group would break down and the pace would drop right off. It was these times that thoughts of a hard chasing scratch bunch would loom to the fore. Suppressing them and just concentrating on how far in front the leaders were helped. Random people on the side of the road yelling out split times helped a lot. "10 minutes", "5 minutes", "3 minutes".

Finally we crested the climb, the leaders weren't too far away, and we had a strong bunch. Turns were pulled at 50-60km/h, we were a freight train of awesome, hauling arse into the headwind. Those leaders were ours!

Then the 9 minute bunch (the one who started behind us) came through like the TGV. I kicked hard as the first riders came past and managed to get up to speed and slot myself 2/3 of the way down their bunch. We flew past riders, and soon had a lead car in front of us. Wait, a lead car? Does that mean we're winning?!

Finally we reached our turn off to Ballarat (the 5th freeway exit), and got some bad news, there was still at least 1 bunch up the road. That didn't seem to deter anyone as attacks started to come and the pace was driven even higher. The bunch was getting strung out, and so were my legs. Round Lake Wendouree I had one of those unclosable 1m gaps to the riders in front. I lost count of how many times I gritted my teeth and tried to get to the relative comfort of their draft, but eventually (2-3km to go) my legs had nothing left and I watched 15 or so riders fly into the distance.

Results aren't up yet, but from what I can gather the 15 minute bunch (the ones who started right in front of us) got up for the win, finishing only a minute or so in front of the 9/12 minute bunch combo I was with.

I'm pretty happy that I was able to survive both the hills and the headwinds to get to Ballarat near the front of the race. I'm a little disappointed that I wasn't able to hold on on the flat. That should be my forte, well my 3rd forte, you know after telling bad jokes and farting.

D: 100.2km
A: 900m

PMPW: 92kg


Ian said...

You are plenty fast for a fat bastard...

BK said...

I dips me lid to ya big fella, nice work!