Sunday, April 3, 2011

waroona cyclosportif 80k ride

in a bid to keep training fresh i decided to sign myself up for this ride thinking that not only would it be a good training exercise (it has hills) but i would have fun, get out of my comfort zone and enjoy the day. bicycling western australia put on these events which are team rides and although they are timed they are not races. you can sign up as an individual and they assign you to a team based on your ability. as it turned out they only had one team of individuals so it was a real mix. i was the only girl.

taking into account that i live in the swan valley it was a 1 hour 45 min drive to waroona which was tedious. the race event started at 9.30 so at least i didn’t have to get up before dawn. met up with the team and luckily we started up front and so even if we came last it would not look like we did. bonus. 

pretty quickly the ‘team’ disbanded. three guys rode off straight away never to be seen again. one kilometre in you start climbing the first hill and it is a good one. i have attached the link to mr garmin and you can see the elevation and course below. while we were climbing the rest of the team stayed together. as soon as we went downhill the guys next to me or in front just drifted away. the law of physics states that whatever is heavier and has a big fat belly will go faster on the downhill. so then i would catch them on the climb until we reached more of the downhill section and they were gone. one guy i kept in sight and eventually past and never saw again and two other guys stayed at the back and i don’t know if they finished. it would have been nice to ride as a team (a hell of a lot easier !) just for the experience but you really need to be close in ability or at least understand the no 'i' in team principle.

this was a tough race ride. i haven’t ridden any hills in 3-4 months so the legs felt it. at some points i didn’t know if i could keep going but i just let my mind wander and kept the legs turning and before i knew it i was over the hill. some of the downhills were a tiny bit scary especially when my eyes watered over and i could not see. being on your own you do get to people watch and it was interesting to see the make- up of some groups and how well they worked together. the wind let up after awhile but it was never really that bad but then the heat kicked in. the race event is not closed roads and a couple of guys nearly ended up kissing the front of a car. we were slowly riding up hill and they were coming downhill fast and around a blind corner when a car behind us decided they were sick of waiting and overtook on a double line. if it had been thirty seconds earlier it would have been nasty. being a group ride and a hilly course i rode pretty much off my aerobars which actually gave me a really sore lower back on the right side. once i started using my aerobars  it went away. interesting.

the course was excellent, the views scenic and the marshalls did a great job. my biggest criticism is the lack of support on the course. maybe this is the way it is but there were no re-fill aid stations. i had two bottles and my food was perfect but by the time i was done i was dehydrated and thirsty. and even then i had to wait till i could get inside the hall to ‘buy’ a drink. the entry fee included a meal (no drink) and if you arrive at the back of the pack everyone else is already seated and well into it. i think the people who finished after me may have gone hungry and thirsty. i still find it very strange that no drinks were provided but maybe that is a triathlon expectation. it seems like as soon as you cross the finish line after your run a drink is thrusted into your hand quickly followed by a piece of fruit or more drinks. it also seems like the protocol is to change out of your cycling gear before entering the food hall to claim your meal. it does make sense but who knew ? i don’t think it was necessary for the guys next to me in the drink line to make jokes about it. anyway all i wanted was water and more water and all i got was one bottle of water and a lemon soda. they had run out !!! since the last thing i wanted was a hot roast beef or turkey roll i got in the car and drove home.

for me this was a fun and challenging race ride – although more than my training plan had required for a recovery week. it was a long drive home and i only got back around three so it didn’t leave a lot of time for my sunday nana nap.

there are another four races events over the winter so i will look forward to riding again as an individual team member.  i will be prepared.

p.s. i did manage to beat home 11 teams - including two female teams.  yay for me.



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