Sunday, 2 December 2012


Tour of Bright - Stage 3 (Mt Hotham):
There's a point in a stage race when you wake up, get on the bike and are greeted with a wooden feeling from your legs. You work through some drills, cadence predominately, just stuff to get things moving, all the while hoping either you'll come good or everyone else is in the box just as deep if not deeper than you.

For me that was this morning, though to be fair, there was only one morning to wake less than fresh to, but lets not let trivial logic get in the way of a fairly mundane story.

The race rolled off up the Ovens Valley, a few attacks came and went (went and came?), before one with 5-6 riders were allowed clear off the front. In fact they were given a massive leash... or the leash wasnt being held, it was ridiculous, it was.... buggerit I'm going too!

So I was off the front (middle?) of the race, solo, with a mere 50km to go. I gave a few quick looks over my shoulder, the bunch wasn't responding, so after a few minutes I stopped looking and got about setting a tempo for myself. My heart rate wasn't rising up to threshold levels, but the pedals were turning, so that would have to do. I was mindful of any small rises, preferring to keep a steady power rather than a steady speed. After a 5, maybe 10 minutes, I really don't know, I was joined by 3 others, we worked some smooth turns, and we worked some ugly ones, there were no sprint points left for us, but getting to the mountain with a head start on the bunch suited us all.

It was not to be, on the approach into Harrietville a glance back showed that Lach and Dan were mowing us down, I sat up and waited to get swallowed. Then as we approached the first kick of the mountain I went backwards through the bunch. Thankfully so was Lachlan, he was the bloke I'd decided must be beaten today, and for the 20 odd kilometres before manure started to hit oscillating objects, it's be great to have a mate about to talk manure to. Well... that was the plan anyway. As we set about climbing the mountain it was obvious that Lach's legs were in better shape than mine, he'd surge off ahead, leaving my tired body for dead, only to come back a few minutes later when he was bored. We picked up a few other riders to cries of "GRUPPETTO!!!
". It's nice to finally know that language the mountains in Australia evoke is Italian rather than French, for if it was the latter we would have been the Autobus. In hindsight it seems ridiculous that I even considered we might have been an Autobus... seriously... just look at us!
Anyway, when we finally got to the toll booths, Lach hit again, I sighed and went hunting for my "happy" climbing place. 90rpm, hands loosely on the tops of my bars, pulling through the bottom of each pedal stroke with purpose. Over the course of the 3 steep ramps that serve only as a cruel form of torture I pegged him back, passed him, was repassed, repegged him back, passed him again, then was repassed, before a final bout of repeggig, repassing and finally dropping the little bastard in the surge to the line.

The tour was over, I'd finished 41st out of 55 finishers, the very definition of pack fodder and far from my aspirations of overall nudge giver. My best "result" was 22nd in the TT, but I still dropped 1 minute there and 15 overall.

I'm not sure if I'll be back for this one, if I do, I'm going to need to be 82kg with my same power. I'm not meaning to sound negative, I loved the weekend, from my perspective it was a bloody well run event, each of the road stages leaving a stupidly fun descent to get home. There is one thing I'd change though. The bloody magpie that swooped me as I descended past the Hotham toll booths. I wish it would bugger right off.

A quick thanks to Dawnski who put up with my petulance, Rush for the support and Lachy for letting me win.

Strava link.

D: 124.5km
A: 1,984m

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