I will be participating in the 4th annual Sam Miranda King Valley Gran Fondo this Saturday. The course is 115 km’s and is a timed event preceding the Sam Miranda road race. Which includes stage 3 of the ‘Sam Miranda tour of the King Valley womens National Road Series race.
The circuit is a mix of quiet country roads, unique climbs including the famed ‘Strade Nero’ to Whitlands climb. This is a gravel climb which is 6.2 km in length with a 4% gradient. You bomb down into Whitfield and pass through rolling countryside and vineyards on your way back to the Sam Miranda Winery. The organisers have made some changes to the course this year. This includes an extra 15 km of riding towards the end. Which will work in the riders favour as the detour will offer some respite from the dreaded headwind.
The forecast is pretty average. There’s 1 – 5 mm of rain forecast. With a northerly which will make the last 40 km a challenge. There’s not much cover on the course and you’d want to bring some good wet weather kit. The only good news is that the day should be relatively warm compared with what we’ve experienced over the past 3 months. There is only a short descent that will cause grief if you are wet and cold descending it.
Last year I came 6th but struggled. 80% of this event is on dead flat straight roads, and due to the fact I only ever climb hills. I found it difficult to stay seated in the same position for such an extended period of time. Being quite tired by the time that I hit the climbs which are normally my bread & butter.
I have had much experience on these types of roads since last year. Finding it a lot more comfortable to sit at tempo, and to tap out a fast pace. My health is not 100%, and I can only play the safety and play it by ear. Hills are usually my strong point, but I hate to admit that I have not had the chance to test myself at all on them since injuring myself. It would be foolish on the day to push myself into the red if I can avoid it.
At the start of winter I would have been targeting top 3. Now realistically a top 20 spot would be par. I know several riders who will be participating this year including my mates Gary Beazley & Chris Cox. I’m00 more looking at just enjoying the weekend. Given that just over 12 days ago I couldn’t walk properly after straining my left Achilles & right knee. The fact that I’ve been able to turn things around so quickly to have a hope of even turning up at the start line has given me a sense of pride. With less than three months to go until the birth of my son. I am fast approaching my last dance before I move onto a new phase of my life.