I was very excited at the time to be doing the Kinglake Ride. This was my third event that I had signed myself up for. As part of your entry fee you were able to join in free Coaching sessions from the Tri-alliance group. Lesson which I learned a lot from. As a bonus you received a cool top & some Briko sunglasses. I trained well, and felt I was in good shape for the ride. I didn’t understand at the time how to use the weather forecast to work out how to plan a ride. This turned out to be one of the hardest rides I’ve ever done.
The Kinglake Ride
It started to rain as we started and just kept picking up. I rode through it, and seemed to be doing well. I was working my way up the field, and ignoring the fact that I was soaked to the skin. The climb up Kinglake was easy. There were so many bikes up there that you couldn’t move, so I sat at a comfortable pace the whole way. Up the top it was tempting to stop. There was a good couple of hundred riders standing around in the rain. I thought it would be better to keep riding.
From Kinglake, the group I was in caned it! I was completely blinded by rain splashing in my eyes at times. My water logged body was starting to feel the cold. The descent all the way down to the Melba Highway was fast and furious. There was a large group of riders that had stopped at the turnoff. Again I didn’t see the point as they were standing out in the rain. We were all completely soaked anyway. Down the Melba we were sitting on speeds over 50kmph. Given the conditions, was madness & I had never ridden at these speeds before. I guess my numbed mind figured the quicker I rode, the quicker this hell would be over.
The Kinglake ride was about to throw a new curve ball with the coldest part of the ride. Descending at such high speeds really hurt me. I didn’t realise at the time but I was developing hypothermia. At Glenburn, we came upon a rest stop, and it was a 50/50 as to whether I would stop. I was really starving, and pulled over. One of the helpers approached me. I couldn’t mouth any words as my teeth started to chatter so hard. I tried to grab an orange, but my hands were shaking so hard that I couldn’t peel it.
Someone grabbed me, and said I was looking bad. I was moved me into a caravan and threw a couple of woollen blankets over me. For the next ¾ hour I shook uncontrollably. And shook so hard that I strained my groin. I heard that they were planning on calling an ambulance at some stage. There were 6 of us in similar states of shock in this little camper.
It could have been game over. If I was thinking clearly I would have pulled the plug and caught the SAG wagon. It was still raining outside, and I still had 50km’s left to ride. I didn’t know what to do. I got back on the bike, and kept riding. It was only drizzling at that stage, and it only rained a little bit after that. After 3 & a half hours of riding in freezing rain took their toll. I was riding amongst the back markers. On a normal day would have flown by them. Instead I had to be a pest and sit on riders wheels the whole way.
I got back in 5 & ½ hours, and collapsed in a heap. The last 50km’s were a nightmare. Being who I am, I took it all with a grain of salt. I invested in some wet weather kit, and resolved to return the next year with avengence.