I was excited to do the 2012 Around the Bay in a Day (210km edition). Really training hard leading up to the event. The start of the ride through the city were annoying. You either got stuck in slow groups or constantly got stopped at traffic lights. The West Gate Bridge. Now that was an experience to climb. I gave it a lot of gas, and flew by group after group of riders. Not too many climbers would enter an event like the ATB. Normally I wouldn’t be drawn to such a flat course, but back then it seemed to be one of the premiere events that you’d like to have on your resume.
The trip down the Princess Highway was quite surreal and time flew. I was actually enjoying myself, as the pace was quite comfortable to ride. You couldn’t really pass safely on the Princess Highway so I just had to sit in whatever bunch I was in. After we rode through Geelong, the groups splintered. I was lucky to join a group which was pushing quite a good speed. One guy was happy to do all the pace making from Geelong to Queenscliffe. I was lucky I could sit on the back and conserve some energy.
I made it to Queenscliffe very relieved, and in ok shape. When I waved my pass at the gate and was told that I’d gone the wrong way. I booked my ticket 3 months before. Guess I just assumed this was the way I had booked and screwed up. There were several other riders in the same boat who had gone the wrong way. We were hoping to sort something out with the organisers.
The guy we talked with was a total prick.
We asked the question of what can we do, and he pointed the way we came and said: “see that road you came down, head back up it! You’re not going on the ferry!”.
I was fuming. We had booked in for a 210 km event, and it was 115 km’s to Queenscliffe, so to go back added an additional 20 km’s to what I was expecting to ride today. I met this guy who had flown over from South Australia to do this event. He said that he didn’t know Melbourne, and didn’t know which way to go. But got the same reply that I did. We agreed to ride back together. I was riding so well before, and now that that spark was gone I really struggled. On top of this we encountered hellish head winds from Queenscliffe to Geelong which almost killed me.
I wasn’t having the best of days.
When we got back to Geelong, I was cooked and was struggling to breath. This was one of my first rides wearing my new heart rate monitor. I didn’t realise that I had it on too tight. When I loosened the strap, I realised that it had been so tight that it was cutting off the circulation underneath. My skin was really pale all around the strap. After I took it off I felt like I could finally breath & headed off with some confidence that I could finish this thing. The wind changed directions and we had a perfect tailwind behind us on the Princess Highway. Even though I was completely spent, I was able to ride at speeds up to 55 km/h on the flat section heading back to Melbourne.
A deuschbag in front of me avoided a large piece of metal at the last second and didn’t warn me. At the time I was almost kissing his rear wheel, then suddenly I was going to hit this piece of metal that was about 40cm wide whilst riding at 53 km/h. I bunny hopped it which was purely instinctive and felt cool. To this day is one of the favourite moves I’ve ever done on a bike.
I struggled towards the end, but made it.
I had ridden 230 km’s (my first ever double century). Although the day turned to shit, I had a lot to be proud of. Instead of taking the train home I chose to ride home from Alexander Gardens. Foolishly I went to the bike expo at the Bike Expo. Buying a tonne of items, as well as picking up a fair bit of freebies. This seemed good at the time, but I had to carry them back home. I had to wear three tops that I bought. Completely filled my pockets and filled a bike bag which I carried on my back which weighed a tonne.
My legs felt good to ride, but I felt so hot wearing all the extra clothes, and carrying a bag on my back after 230 km’s of riding wasn’t pleasant.
I set a then record of 276 km’s.
I sent an email to the organisers, and told my story & admitted that the fault was mine, and offered some suggestions. Bicycle Victoria like all mass events treats you like a number, not a person and didn’t even have the courtesy to reply to my email. I felt ripped off to have paid so much for the experience I got.
That wasn’t a bad trip up from the city to Quenscliffe return. I was so close to 300 km’s, that I wanted another crack at the 300. I figured that I paid so much for nothing, that next year I would return and do the same trip again and pay nothing. If they don’t have the decency to treat me as a person, well screw them!
I had 300 on my mind next time……….
Here is a link to my Strava Activity here: