Almost a Triple Century
The second half of 2013 was a nightmare for me. We had a death in the family, a lot of sickness, I injured my knee & a few other things. Over the course of the winter I was lucky to get two weeks without having a spanner thrown into my training. The week before the 2013 Around the Bay in a Day I had a bad day at work. Foolishly wanted to take my frustration out on the bike.
On the way home from work I was smashing segment times on a wet day. The bike paths were greasy and slippery which was not smart. I was riding in a zombie trance. It was really wet and was only about a km from home going into a roundabout in the rain too fast. Not paying attention. I screwed up my line, and couldn’t brake quick enough due to the wet. In hindsight I should have tried a bunny hop maneuver up the gutter.
When you’ve got a fraction of a second to decide…..
I crashed hard and I was lucky as it could have been really bad. I can’t remember much except for the fact that I bounced up on the grass. Worse case I could have easily slid into the curve and it would have been game over for a long while. I ripped all the skin around my elbow the size of a tennis ball. Plus ripped a massive chunk out of my hip. Of course I was thankful that the bike survived in one piece. This was my second crash on my Road bike. Touch wood, haven’t had one on the Road bike since.
I knew the missus would freak out, so hid the damage from her. Was very, very sore over the next couple of days. The ATB was 5 days away, and it was hit & miss whether I could now do the 2013 ATB. I was considering doing a shorter version instead. The day before I was really sore, but had made prior plans to ride the ATB with Chris Cox.
I felt like I didn’t want to let him down, so gambled and told him I’d still meet up with him. But would have to see how I felt in the morning, as to whether I could ride. I woke up without any major aches, and thought that it could be possible to do the ride. Chris of course said, yeah I’ll pace you, you’ll be fine.
Think I would have learnt that he doesn’t know the word mercy…..
The first 10 km’s went well & we were slowly bouncing from group to group. I was riding well to start with. When we hit the Princess Highway Chris started getting bored with the pace and kept leap frogging groups. There were about 30 riders in front of us. We were sitting on 38 km/h. Chris waved the elbow out & I groaned. I didn’t want to overtake on the Highway. But he flew past this massive group at close to 60 km/h on a flat. With one skinny rider screaming in pain trying to catch up. I was caught up doing this crazy speed that Chris was knocking out, and started to struggle to keep the pace that CC rider was dishing out.
Up ahead at one stage we could see a small rise, which was about 3% for 400 metres. There was a good 20 riders in front of us. Chris commented that he didn’t want to get stuck behind all the slowbies, and at the base the elbow waved out. I started to curse and frantically stood up and cranked out a massive amount of power. Couldn’t believe how these guys looked like they were standing still when we passed them at 54 km/h up the hill.
I couldn’t take any credit as it was all Chris dishing out the pain.
Chris was just a machine that day, and heading down to Geelong we would have overtaken hundreds of riders. My hip started to flare up after 40 km’s. Every pedal stroke felt like my hip was on fire. I said to Chris just to head off, and he was nice enough to slow down to 40 km/h to let me keep up. The section between Geelong to Queenscliffe was quite undulating. We flew into a horrendous head wind, and this section was a blur.
I lost count of how many riders we passed as I was completely in the pain cave whilst Chris was having the time of his life. I kept saying to myself “if you’re struggling, imagine how all the guys your passing are feeling?”. But you couldn’t get the grin off Chris’s face.
Don’t think he’s ever eaten as many carrots as he did today.
Nearing Queenscliffe I had to put the brakes on and crawl to the end. My hip was bad, and with 140 km’s down, we still had a long, long way to go. I couldn’t believe our time getting there though. Even with being slown down by a hip injury. With a strong headwind over the last 30 km’s we managed a respectable 32 km/h average from Melbourne to Queenscliffe segment:
Thankfully we took a long break in Queenscliffe at a Café before heading back. I kept offering to let Chris head off, so that I can crawl back. He was stoic today and carried me the whole way encouraging me, and letting me stick on his wheel. The wind picked up to a gale on the return. We were copping well over 80 km cross winds. At one stage I was sitting on Chris’s wheel, and I was suddenly blown about a foot to my left. Chris slid almost a foot to his left as well.
I have no idea how we righted ourselves.
Sadly a cyclist got blown off her bike and crashed into a Caravan which would have been doing over 90 km/h. When we passed, they had the body covered in a blanket. With the body was lying face down and not moving. The Emergency services were ferrel at us, and we assumed that there was a fatality. This really soured the rest of the day. Thankfully we found out later that the rider had merely broken her elbow. Which was a major relief to hear.
The winds were ferocious, and we passed a lot of riders heading back to Melbourne, and really felt for them. When you’re in the hurt locker and really struggling. It’s not nice having two riders sail by like they’re not struggling, but we were (well I was). It was enjoyable flying by so many riders before.
By the end of the ride, we would have easily overtaken over a thousand riders, and didn’t get passed once.
I think I’m pretty expert at bonking, but today was something special. I would be riding well at 35 km/h, and then go a bit funny. Then suddenly cop a dizzy spell and collapse. I bonked 6 times today, and had to beg for constant stops on the way back. We were riding in extreme winds, and my hip was killing me.
Realistically I shouldn’t have tried the long distance today. When we were riding, we still averaged close to 31 km/h, and was truly one guts effort. But of all the crazy rides I’ve done, this one I have to question why?
It was such a sweet feeling crossing the finish line 12 months after getting jacked off by the organisers.
I think at this stage that I had experienced so much pain on the ride that I was just numb. You think I would have learned. Taking the Sag wagon home and caught the train, once we got back to the Alexander Gardens. But no, I had to have 300 km’s in mind. All I had to do was to ride slowly up the bike trails all the way home…….
To cut a long & painful story short, I was climbing a short hill in Pinewood. I had 288 km’s under my belt. I somehow got to the top of the hill & collapsed. My body went into shock and I couldn’t move. I just lay there for about 10 minutes completely shell shocked. It was so close to a triple century.
All I had to ride for another 25 – 30 minutes and it would be there, but I just couldn’t move.
My parents lived a couple of kilometres away, and it was mainly downhill. So gave them a call & said that I’ll visit, then called the missus to see if she could pick me up from my parents. The rest is a bit of a blur. The state that they saw me in, a can understand their concern for me riding so much. Especially if this was what I was doing to myself. I couldn’t tell them the truth That I was in this state as I had crashed the week before. Anyone would have questioned why I rode in the first place, let alone close to 300 km’s.
I was injured, and overtook the majority of the field on the day. CC rider was amazing, and without his assistance that day would have been very, very bad. It’s a shame as the form he was in, we would have completed it in a very scary time. Even with the last 25 km’s being at a crawl I managed to average 30 km/h in horrendous conditions. The highlight of the day was the West Gate Bridge climb. I averaged 28 km’s up the 1.4 km climb & Chris used my lead out to smash out 29 km/h.
we were amongst the 6 fastest times up the WGB for the day.
Unfortunately it was one step forward, one step back. I was knocked for six, and had to use most of the next week to recover. Missing out on the triple century as well hurt, and wondered whether it would be possible if could reach that magic number. Given what he did for me on the day. Was so proud that Chris was able to knock out his first triple century, and to this day he reckons it’s one of his favourite rides.
Check out my Strava Activity here:
Wish I could put Chris’s Activity up as was impressive his first of many Triple Centuries, but this was before he got into Strava.