Ahh… where to start?
I’m not quite sure why I’m having so much trouble writing about the ride. Well, I suppose the starting point could be that it won’t go down as one of my more successful rides. It’s not because I ended up in the sag wagon – I didn’t. I finished the ride. However, it did put me through the wringer.
I’ve started wondering if there’s a cycling equivalent of a runner’s wall. Because it certainly felt like I slammed right into it, repeatedly.
100kms of the ride was fine, which is a little surprising considering it included a decent climb. I actually enjoyed the climb! Unlike other climbs I’ve done, this one had small breaks in it so you’d slog your guts out for a bit and then just when you started think you couldn’t possibly keep going, an opportunity to have a rest would pop up. The road goes right through the centre of the Otway forest so it was strikingly beautiful. The whole area was burnt to the ground in 1983 Ash Wednesday fires and the way it is now is a testament to how amazing the Australian bush is. It’s lush, green and full of animals, including frogs which I could hear as I was pedaling along.
A few sections of the climb were quite steep and I realised I was going too hard so I decided to play a game of How slow can I ride before I tip over? which apparently was quite slow – under 10km/h. Still, I overtook a bunch of people and a lot of them were off their bikes walking up the hill and a few people were looking decidedly shaky. I rode past one girl who lying on the ground in the coma position while her friend was waiting for either an event official or a cop to go past so she could get some assistance. Another guy was being helped off his bike by his friends and looked like he was about to collapse from exhaustion. But not me! I powered on, only wobbling occasionally as the gradient really started to kick in.
The descent was fantastic. So much fun! The road surface wasn’t the best but I still managed to overtake a bunch of people on the way down to Lorne. I did have to slow down at one point because a rider was being picked up by an ambulance with what looked like a broken collarbone. It’s just as well I really enjoyed the descent because after that the fun stopped.
The last 45kms totally destroyed me. How crappy I felt went well and truly beyond a hunger fade, even though I was feeling pretty bad because I hadn’t eaten enough. I was in so much pain. My back was shouting at me, my shoulders and neck were cramping up. I really don’t know how I managed to get back on the bike after stopping at Anglesea.
I was mentally under-prepared for how hard the last leg of the ride would be. I feel really disappointed with myself because I couldn’t make it in the time I thought I would. It took me nearly six hours to complete the ride when I felt I should’ve been able to do it in five and a half. When I finished Amy’s Ride, I really felt like I’d accomplished something but this time I don’t feel like I’ve achieved anything. Mostly, I feel like I failed but I don’t know why. I know logically that I shouldn’t because I did manage to ride the whole 145 kilometres but logic doesn’t really have much to do with how I feel right now.
Definitely won’t go down as my favourite ride.
I did do something I didn’t think I would. I braved the cold and walked into the surf after getting back to the hotel. The water wasn’t as cold as I thought it would be but it did help. If nothing else, it helped me relax after being extremely stressed in the last 25kms of the ride. The first wave that got up over my waist made me squeal and then laugh. I spent about 20 minutes standing in the water, looking out towards the horizon. Then I walked back to the hotel and jumped into the spa in my cycling kit. Eh, what else can you do when you have no swimwear? It’s all made of lycra in the end. I think it helped though. Sure, I hobbled around the house on Sunday but my legs were okay on Monday so apparently the whole spending time in the surf thing works.
I did come away with one very valuable piece of knowledge – I need a narrower seat. This was the furtherest I’ve ever ridden and it became very apparent the width of the seat was causing me considerable grief. I visited Total Rush in Richmond on Friday to buy some new gloves and took the opportunity to get my sit bones measured as I had started to wonder if my seat was too wide. The guy doing the measuring agreed and said I could do with a narrower seat than my current one. (Kudos to him for not trying to sell me one.) I didn’t think it’d make much of difference but by the end of the ride, my hips hurt quite a bit. So I’m on the hunt for a new one. I’m thinking a Fi’zi:k one. No cut out but 5cm narrower.
Anyhoo… my Garmin stats. I’m still very eh about them.