Sunday, 20 May 2012


Blackburn - Donna Buang - Blackburn:
After a late night at the MCG (go bombers!), I awoke with heavy eyes and a brain that tried to convince everything else that more sleep was needed. I placated it by "just" going to the toilet, then "just" having a shower, then "just" putting on my socks. Everything took a little longer than necessary but it got done. I then put my bike in the car and drove to BJs, which allowed me a half hour nap before the ride began.

The feature climb of the day was Don Rd up the back of Mt Donna Buang, BJ set the pace early and I just followed hoping to sit on his wheel for the duration of the ascent. It quickly became obvious that BJ didn't want my fat arse huffing and puffing behind him, constant looking back, some surges, an out of the saddle effort. After he had sat back down and I'd stood to cover the gap, I decided to roll up and assure him that I had no intention of attacking, that all I wanted to do was let him set tempo, maybe pull a turn or two, and then watch him crest the top in first. As I drew shoulder to shoulder, I realised his breathing was far more laboured than mine. I snuck in a quick question that'd require a decent answer, the reply was short and seemed to exacerbate his oxygen debt. So I did what moments before I'd had no intention of. I attacked. A few lengths up the road I set about finding a groove. Hands on the tops, arms and shoulders relaxed, like a duck placid above the waist, all go below the water line. 80prm was my number, each pedal stroke executed smoothly and with intent. If this climb was a movie, it would have been "How Stella got her groove back". Ok maybe not, but the name seems appropriate.

Once the climb finished with me clear of the trailing riders, it was time to zip up and descend back down the same road. Railing the penultimate corner of the descent, a sweeping right hander, at 75km/h left me with a grin that wouldn't quit, despite a slow leak in my front tyre that the latex in my tube wouldn't seal.

Meyers Creek Rd was a bit tougher, I'd had mixed success here before. Last time I'd gapped Erin and Jim only to have them come back at the end when the gradient edged a little steeper. That memory became a self fulfilling prophecy. Thinking about the chasing riders rather than just concentrating on my own job, took me out of my groove and let Jim and JB come back to me, I eased on the pedals to allow them to close the final gap, which gave me enough for a final kick over the line.


I had a little bit of fun on the rollers between Healesville and Yarra Glen, but as we rolled into the climb towards the Christmas Hills it became obvious that our 4th rider, a mate of BJ's (Tim) was cooked. I stuck with him, setting a steady tempo where single file was the only option, a steady hand in the back when there was room for us to be two up. It was the same climb, the same help, on a similar ride, to the one where years ago John Claxton did the same for me. I tried to make my voice sound as earnest as possible when I said "Don't apologise mate, I've in been EXACTLY the same place before. We all have.".

Strava link.

D: 166.0km
A: 2,845m

PMPW: 93kg

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