Monday, 13 October 2008

cycle of pain

Well, I got there.

Yesterday morning I got up at 4:45am, and within a half hour was on my bike, as I would be for most of the day, off to the Brisbane to the Gold Coast bike ride. I decided that my aim was to get there in under four and half hours ride-time, and under 5 hours total time.

There were 7800 participants (or so we were told), and I arrived in time for the 25-30km/h group, so I started with them, rather than the 20-25 group, as I'd anticipated. I started well, and felt good early, covering 27km in the first hour.At about 35km my calves started getting tight, so to avoid cramping (as I did last time) I made sure I was getting enough fluid, and stretched them out on a couple of downhills, which seemed to relieve it. The rest stop at 40km was welcome.

At about 60km, I hit the wall, I guess you'd say. We were in open flat land, the wind was starting to come up slightly, and I found myself without a group to ride with. I ran into Peter Mascaro, which was nice, but his and other groups rode past me just a little too fast to tag onto. I found myself a gear or two down on hills and on flats and really doing it tough, and the rest stop at 80km couldn't come fast enough.

I started well on the last segment, putting 8 solid kilometres down before I started feeling it again. Its never a good sign when you look down at your computer and you've advanced 300m since you last checked it. The computer ticked over 100km at 3:59:33 ride-time - 25km/hr - which was a benchmark I'd thought of targetting but abandoned as too ambitious. A good thing too - the ride didn't finish until 104km and 4h12 (ride-time, about 4h42 total). I am actually very happy with that time - I had expected more like 23 or 24km/hr. Anna Bligh was allegedly quicker (they told us 26-27km/hr), but I figure she had a peloton working for her, and probably proper gear (as opposed to me - hybrid, no cleats, civilian clothes) so I don't feel so bad.

It really did hurt, too. My calves and quads, and also my ankle, shoulders and wrist, were all pretty sore after I finished, and a few of those I can still feel today. I'm very proud of having finished, though - it was one of the hardest physical tests I've ever given myself, I'd say.

The fundraising hasn't so far been as successful as the Brissie To The Bay Ride, which is a little disappointing. For those who still want to donate, head over to my donations page. The Heart Foundation appreciates anything you can spare.

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