3 weeks have passed since the birth of my son, and sleepless nights do take their toll. On the other hand you get used to broken sleep & the constant feeling of fatigue does become a familiar friend. I had a thought, and they usually end up in me suffering some manner of pain. Why not after giving William his 2:00 am feed just jump out on the bike & ride a long deserved century…..
I remembered this cliché title “Morningtonne”, which of course decided where I was to ride. There was scattered showers forecasted, but there’s nothing I haven’t dealt with before……..
So the morning feed didn’t go so well, & it took me till 3:30 am to get him settled and I wasn’t out the door till 4:00 am. Straight out the door it was raining. Just that sleet that clings to your skin. I was riding into a headwind and the rain was being driven straight into my eyes. My legs felt fresh & I was riding smoothly but the rain was driving me nuts. When I hit the Princess Highway the rain picked up and so did the wind. My ride became a battle for survival. I pulled over twice to hide from the rain & after a little over 5 km I was prepared to throw in the towel & turn home. I was soaked to the skin & started to shake.
“You will have a tailwind on the way home” I kept telling myself and kept on riding.
Yes I was seriously questioning my sanity.
I turned onto the Dandenong Creek Trail which was about 15 km of sandy gravel. Hoping for some relief, instead I experienced hell. The ground was soft from the rain and my tires felt glued to the ground and moving forward was tough. That headwind was relentless. For such a short ride I was feeling my energy quickly sapping. Even with a tailwind on the way home possibly I wouldn’t have any energy to enjoy it.
When I hit Beach Road & it was such a relief to have the wind hit me from the side. I was wasted with only 24 km completed. It rained on & off from here and I wasn’t surprised to see many riders out riding. Between Carrum & Frankston I saw a total of 5 riders which for a Saturday morning on Beach Road is a rarity.
At Frankston it started raining again & I was very tempted to turn back home, but told myself to suck it up. I’ve survived countless epics. How hard could this be?
Soon I hit that headwind again, and found out the answer to how hard this could be. After making it to Mornington, I spent ages at McDonalds trying to recover. Fluffing around trying to let my body recover. I turned onto the Nepean Highway & felt that sensation which is purely magical to any rider. I felt nothing. From it being so windy I could not feel a thing and that meant that I had a perfect tail wind.
With dead legs I was suddenly flying.
There’s this small hill just out of Mornington which end on Sunnyside Road. I wanted a PB & decided to give it some gas, and got out of my seat & sprinted up the first 100 metres and sat on a good tempo. Looking at the Garmin, I was sitting on about 42 km/h. I wasn’t going 100%, but 2/3 of the way up I could feel the power going & I dropped down to 37 km/h before I decided to conserve some energy & kept a steady tempo to the top.
When I uploaded my ride I was shocked to discover that I had just posted the 16th fastest time on this hill, which has been ridden by well over 13,000 riders. I was a second off being in the top 10 & hadn’t given it full gas. How I wish I could go back and will myself to have gone faster.
What it did was get my blood going & with a tailwind home I went into TT mode and went for PB’s most of the way home. I was pretty exhausted but was able to pull out something special.
It was a very tough ride with the conditions early on, & I was glad that I endured through the tough early section. Not only did I get a special ride in but I got to spend the rest of the day with my wife & child. You can’t get better than that.