February was a write-off. Over 4 weeks lost to injury, further injury. To add insult to injury, the day before I was due to do my first ride back un-injured I sliced through my thumb which sent me to the Emergency Department at Dandenong Hospital. Costing me another week of injury. Bu-boom! Through this frustrating period I tried to stay strong. Just putting in short rides to keep the legs ticking over and just kept telling myself to be patient.
With a long weekend the plan was to ride with the Spider Bikes on Saturday. Then the Rowville Riders on the Labour Day public Holiday. I needed to pace myself back into form & figured that doing group rides would help to slow myself down.
Yeah I should know myself better than that!
Spider Bikes I was feeling it & pushed hard on the climbs. I was passed easily on the flats & descents which I was happy with. I need to know where I’ve lost the most fitness to get back to where I need to be. Overall I did better than expected but felt it on the last 30 km which was a real grind.
On the Labour Day Rowville Riders ride I was looking forward to a light ride on flat roads. I enjoyed chatting with Bill Bouhalis on the ride up. He told me about a ride he did from Adelaide to Melbourne. The ride is easterly and given that we rarely get easterlies & only a handful of really strong ones each year. They were definitely unlucky to cop one on their epic ride. It’s not pleasant on some of Victoria’s open countryside which can be quite boring to ride through to begin with.
From St Kilda to Port Melbourne there’s usually a pissing contest. We were fanging it up Beach Road sitting on 52 km/h. Three red lights cost us some amazing times, but I was still able to get in the top 2% of riders on quite a few Beach Road segments.
With a pissy little 20k m/h tail wind for someone like me who doesn’t ride flats is quite amusing.
At Port Melbourne one of the riders Fabian said that he wanted to do 100 km. Asking for riders to do a longer ride back down Beach Road with him. I needed a few extra k’s for my 100 so worked out perfectly. We had a head wind heading down Beach Road. But it was quite consistent wind & easy to tap out a rhythm into. Halfway down I was moved up to the front & suddenly felt great. I enjoyed the hard work against the wind and was trying to soft pedal not to hurt the riders behind me too much. From here I pretty much did most of the pacing from here back to Rowville. When we pulled over at Mordialloc I was really surprised to see a few of the riders gasping for breath.
The last time I rode down Springvale Road we copped a pretty strong cross/headwind. I was in pretty much the bottom 5% of all riders on all of the leader boards down there. With only about a dozen riders in our group. There was a hope that if I jumped out the front and set a fast tempo I could nail a pb on every single segment easily enough.
So much for pacing myself back into shape…..
We turned onto Springvale Road & there was this nice gentle tail wind pushing us along and it was nice. Out front I was pushing a decent tempo sitting just under 40 km/h & the group was hanging on. I kept cheekily pushing and pushing & the group was strong and kept pace for awhile. Personally I was holding back & the legs were just feeling it. The further down Springvale Road we got the more I could tell I was really hurting some of the riders. Guess it was one of those rides where they were having the time of their lives smashing out some incredible times or silently screaming “f#@g b@&rd!”.
Everyone was nailing PB after PB, and we were all showered in gold. Towards the end my quads started to scream in pain but I could still tap out a good tempo.
I passed out after getting back home & really felt it. Four rides back from injury have now netted me four centuries. They’ve cost me. It’s taken an inordinate amount of time to recover and I’ve constantly felt tired. On a positive note I’ve seen some good improvements and have gone from strength to strength. I’ve got some friends doing an epic on Good Friday. I’m hoping to do a fair bit of it with them and the hope is to get in good enough shape to keep up for as long as possible.
Time will tell……..