Do, or do not. There is no try: – Yoda
Over the past the three months I have done half the riding I would normally do. A variety of bad luck has really set me back over winter. Last weekend I had forced myself to overcome injury to ride and most of this week was spent recovering from a stupid jogging injury. I asked myself how could I get myself out of this slump? My immediate reply was “do a double century!”
Is that crazy or plain stupid……..
Move forward to 1:00pm. I’m in Frankston, pretty tired but having just completed 135km. I’d been awake since 4:00am, and had been battling pain from my calf throughout the morning. I was lucky to have my mate Geert ride the first part of the ride with me, but unfortunately he had to head home in Carrum. I had a northerly that I had to ride home into, but it was only foretasted to be around 20-30kmph which I felt I could handle.
Its a shame rides like this when I’ve had a good ride but they’re completely overshadowed by something bad. I started to struggle from Oliver’s Hill, and found I was lacking any power on the climbs. Once I passed Mornington I turned left towards Tyabb and was really optimistic of finishing this well. I had a cross wind which was pushing me slightly and I was setting a decent pace. This was all until I hit this small pinch which was only about 400 metres in length. Then the lights went out half way up the climb and I started to struggle. I kept the legs turning and was able to keep a decent pace, but alarm bells were ringing.
Up ahead as soon as I turned from Tyabb I’d be heading straight into the wind.
I stopped in Tyabb and was pretty drained. There was nothing in the tank but was optimistic. I only had 35 km to go, and shouldn’t have any problems. There was a tonne of time to get home after all. I headed off & kept a good tempo, but as soon as I turned into the wind knew straight away that I was f@#d. The shoulder I was riding had a really bad surface & was constantly dodging debris. It was challenging to ride over. The scenery was ugly, and this was no 20-30 km head wind. It was a struggle to battle upwards of 50 km+ winds and I was battling to keep the bike moving. I was pushing hard and only able to keep a moderate 20 km/h. At the worst point I dipped down to 15 km/h on a straight and just felt like I wasn’t moving.
That wind was relentless & really hurting me.
I wanted to ride through it, but when I started dry reaching. Fighting to keep what little I had in my stomach I knew I was in trouble. I pulled over and lost my guts. I’ve never done this before but I collapsed on the ground on the side of the road and fell asleep for 15 minutes. I was that wrecked, and I could have easily kept sleeping but I knew I had to get back.
Wondering how the hell I was going to do it.
I jumped on the bike and tried to ride, but the wind was relentless and physically & mentally I was spent and just wanted to give up. Any little rise I came to really hurt, and I was miles away from the next place I could really stop at. I was in the country & there was absolutely nothing around here. In my head I tried to work out a way I could break up the ride to get through this. Until I was able to get to Cranbourne I had no way to finish this ride, and I was in shock.
I grinded & grinded away. Eventually making it to Cranbourne & found a park bench to lay on. I was totaled, with a further 25 km from home, and knew all I had to do was get to Fountain Gate. There’s a bike track from there to home that has a nice high wall that would block the wind. All I had to do was to get there……..
Easier said than done.
I got back on the bike and battled. Trying to stay positive, and every time I felt pain I would smile. I was one pedal stroke closer to home. The road was open and exposed and I was fighting my way into a solid wall of wind. I was winning albeit slowly, and eventually made it to Fountain Gate. Stopping at Bunnings & got a sausage & a can of Coke to get me through to the end. I collapsed sitting on the ground eating. When I tried to get up I stumbled & fell. I must have looked a site.
There was only 1 more km to ride into that fierce wind before turning off. I reflected on all the rides I’ve done, and some of the hardships I’ve had to endure. That bike track was heaven. Even with that wall there were winds on the track which was a surprise. The weatherman sure got this forecast wrong.
“Puck you weatherman!”.
I no longer had to grind and had it in the bag. I rolled down the hills, and crawled up the hills. All I was thinking about was getting home & going straight to bed. I had orignially planned to do this ride clockwise, & at the last minute changed it to counter-clockwise. If I knew how much that wind would have picked up in the afternoon no way would I have left the last part into the wind like I did.
I somehow survived, and collapsed in a heap. Was I happy?
This ride was based around the hope of shocking my body back into shape. I certainly succeeded in shocking myself. That ride was hell, & even now a day later I’m still in shell shock. I had nothing in the tank, & had to give up, and I don’t know how I found that strength to keep going. Am I happy to have done it? or just happy to survive it?
Time will tell……
Have I learned from my experience or am I planning on doing another double century next weekend……………
Here is a link to my Strava Activity here: