I took some Annual Leave to be able to do a ride with Chris Cox on the first Monday of the month. We left pretty early and parked the car in Moe. The weather forecast was good and we were looking for a great day. I wasn’t 100%, but thought that I could hold my own against the CC machine……. You’d think I’d learn. From Moe up to Erica it is quite undulating, and there’s quite a few climbs in between. CC was casually cruising, and I was struggling for breath. I could hold the pace easily enough, but something was wrong, and I had to beg for mercy and ask him to slow down. I knew I was going to be in for one of those days, and told him about several segments up the road, hoping that he would smash himself so badly that he would slow down…..
It was a glorious morning, and we were enjoying the ride up to Mt St Gwinear. I was the only one to have climbed this road, and was great to show this off. When we turned off onto Thompson Valley Road I was surprised to find it quite muddy. We also encountered quite a few logging trucks along the way, and they had caused quite a bit of damage to the roads, and we had to fight to get the wheels to turn in long sections. These logging trucks would hurtle past us at up to 100kmph, & was quite hairy. We got to pulling off the road to let them through. There was plenty of space for either of us, but felt that the truckies would be happy to make us road kill.
We got covered in mud, and it was clinging to our brakes, and I really worried that we would have a dangerous descent. We got to the top and I was spewing that the road was in such crappy conditions. We took caution on the descent but had little difficulty, and continued down to the Thompson Reservoir. I was finally starting to feel good, and there was a really steep climb on the far side of the Dam (2.2km’s @ 10%), and foolishly gave it some gas and flew off on Chris. I was absolutely flying up this hill for the first 1.5km’s until I cooked myself, and went chronically into the hurt locker. I only had 700 metres left to push and knew I could still get the KOM, and kept turning as quickly as I could, and was desperately trying to suck in air. I pushed too hard at the start, and didn’t get near the KOM, falling 30 seconds short.
I loved this climb, but the descent was downright dangerous. You hit some scary speeds, and it was S bend, after S bend, and the road surface was crappy, and caused you to take lines into corners where if a car were to come around the bend, you’d be toast. And toast I was. We had a heap of riding ahead of us, and CC was in great shape and I was starting to feel it. Unfortunately Chris let me set the pace climbing out of the Thompson Dam, and I found a rythmn, and knew the maths for what we needed for a KOM, and was actually on target. I lasted 2km’s at the KOM pace before cooking myself, and I launched CC down the road, but sadly hadn’t done enough lead out work for him to score the KOM.
We headed down to Walhalla, and Chris loved it & vowed to return. He had a crack on the way out, and I had no hope of even keeping me in his sights. I was starting to hurt, and just had to focus on keeping a good tempo. There’s about 4.5km’s of climbing out of Walhalla, and it took virtually everything that I had left to climb back up to Rawson. I said to the CC machine that I was cooked, and would have to go slow. He of course said, “fine, fine I’ll pace you back….”. You think I would have learned that he’s full of shit!
I was running on empty, and the 40km’s from Rawson to Moe we averaged close to 40kmph, and I cannot begin to tell how excruciating that felt. It’s all experience and to pump out such fast times on empty tank was unbelievable. Guess this must be how it feels to be an exhausted Pro desperately trying to keep up with the Peloton in the Tour de France.