Saturday, 1 December 2012


Tour of Bright - Stage 1 (Gap Loop):
There were a few riders that rolled up to the start line that made me question my hopes of finishing well on GC, for starters there were guys like Ash Hyatt, and then there were dudes like Murray Spink and Vaughn Bowman. So I sat in the bunch as we rolled down the Ovens Valley, I thought about the first sprint, but found myself poorly placed, so let others take out some pep from their legs.

Over Rosewhite Gap I was in the top 30, riding a good solid tempo in the muggy mountain air, the last km to the summit hurt as riders surged to take the last KOM point remaining after the break had been through. Still I got through that and considered myself in decent nick.

Up the Kiewa Valley, I was sitting pretty in the bunch, the Artisan Boys were doing the work to bring the break back and set up their man Sam for the 2nd sprint. I missed the start of the sprint, but it felt like everyone had gone way to early. I went after them, closing massive amounts of ground, but it was going to be too late, so I aborted and waited for the bunch. Now closing on the base of Tawonga Gap I tried to ignore the misspent energy, and concentrate on the climb.

Turning up the climb I was towards the back, the pace already starting to be driven at the front, hurting riders and creating gaps. I covered a few, but a few bunches had already formed and I was on the wrong side of all of gaps to both the lead and chase groups. I hoped to set a tempo that would bring me back to the chase group, it looked like they were going too hard to sustain, especially in the seriously humid air, it was like riding through soup, and not the nice refreshing gazpacho type of air either.

The gaps never lessened, all I caught were ones and twos, spat off the back of the charging packs. I finished the climb with my heart having averaged 181bpm, a good 5 above threshold. The results tell me I'd dropped just under 4 minutes in a touch over 7km. All I knew was I was putting back water like it was beer, hoping that I'd recover for the TT in the arvo and Hotham tomorrow.

Strava link.

D: 93.0km
A: 1,229m

Tour of Bright - Stage 2 (ITT):
With a TT bike, disc wheel, bootie covers and sperm shaped helmet, I felt slightly silly. I was off the pace of the grade, but it was too late to un-borrow Ian's bike, so why not see what I could do on it?

Out of the gate, this time without a crash, I tried to set a solid, but steady tempo. I had my Garmin mounted with gaffa tape between the TT bars, giving me heart rate, distance and speed. I tried to pay aattention to them in that order of importance. The heart rate seemed low for the perceived effort, I wished for a power meter to judge my pain against. Instead I used the rider ahead. Picking markers he passed and counting the time it took me to reach them.

I wasn't losing time, but my forearms burnt, the position though (mostly) aero, was foreign to my tired body, the strain of holding it together finally grew too much about 1km from the turn around. I had to break the tuck and give my grip a rest in a different position (the bull horns).

Around the turning point, the rider behind me caught and then passed me, but didn't get out of sight. It was last year's B grade runner up, Nick Bien, and he wasn't extending his lead. In fact setting the steady tempo homeward, I was regaining ground. I caught, re-passed him and then set about taking back my 20 seconds.

My body ached, but sooner than expected I could see the finish line, and I had energy left in the tank. I swore at myself, I'd not kept track and paced poorly. I poured what I had into the pedals, stopping the clock at 22:50.34, 22nd in the grade and whole 1.04 seconds faster than Mr Bien.

The race for good GC was over, but there was still some sprint points and the challenge of Hotham tomorrow. I shovelled food and water into my tired body and hit the sack early as rain hammered into the tin of the hotel roof.

Strava link.

D: 15.8km
A: 130m

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