Thursday, 23 December 2010

23/12/2010

Bright - Hotham - Falls - Tawonga - Bright: aka 3 peaks.
Yesterday I made a simple statement about what today stood for, a statement that ran through my head all day and one that I wish to address up front in plain terms so I have no doubt in the future.

"This ride stands as both a mental and fitness test, one I desperately want so I can gauge my progression."

I am not quite as fit as I'd like, going hand in hand with that is a slight lack of mental toughness, to push on when things hurt and no one is around to take note. That said, I can ride a bike, something that I've scarcely done this week, and a fact that I should never overlook.

The ride itself is a bastard of a thing, long with lots of climbing, but really we couldn't have had a much better day for it. Blue skies, quiet roads, plenty of bad jokes and a test to ask questions of yourself. Perfect.

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Up Hotham Mark stopped to take a call from nature, I paused to wait for him then headed off when I realised he'd be a while. The pause meant I lost sight of everyone else who'd by now ridden off up the road. I tried to chase them for a while, sure that someone would have popped, to set myself a tempo and drag them back, but eventually my motivation waned and I waited for Matt so we could climb together. This waning isn't a great sign, I will have to address it over the next month or so before the Otway.

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A little disappointed with my effort up Hotham I hit the pinchy climb before Omeo with some intent and managed to get my best "result" of the day. 4th behind Brendan Spink, Andrew Downie and Ash Hyatt.

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The tail wind assisted roll that followed us departing Omeo was amazing, the Omeo Hwy is stunning, right up until the fucker of a thing that is the back of Falls Creek. Though it's yet to be graded I can only assume it is an Hors Categorie.

The climb up the back of Falls was worse than I remembered. The 14% ramp waiting to welcome us was the same, the sun blasting down on us and the exposed road was the same. What differed was how brutally long it was, it never seems to end, a fact my fragile brain had seen fit to "forget". After the first km or so I settled in to ride with BJ. I was behind a few guys I wanted to be with, but we were going at our limits, so any extra pace was out of the question. I tried to put in a few surges to dislodge BJ, but the effort cost me as much ground as I had gained as I'd have to slow to recover.

The drop off the front of falls was amazing. Simply put, this is the most fun descent I've done on a road bike. 70+ km/h, no peddling, carving turns with a bike leant over hard on the tyres. Fucking. Amazing

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We stopped for a quick drink in Mt Beauty before setting off to tackle the last thing between us and home, Tawonga Gap. We were all smashed, but this 7km 6.5% climb had to be done, and compared to the rest of the day seemed quite easy. I remember 10 years ago how destroyed this one climb made me and I was proud how far I'd come, but there were more important matters at hand, beating BJ who'd refused a gentleman's agreement. After 6.8km I finally got a gap, sure it had taken 4 or 5 attacks in the last km and every ounce of my body hated me, but it restored some pride and that's always worth it. :D

D: 253.2km
A: 4,325m

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