Last week my Achilles went on me again. We all take for granted the fact that this small tendon keeps us standing & helps us to walk. If you take it away you simply can’t stand, and it’s not a pleasant injury to do. I was forced to rest up. Heavily limping until Wednesday this week. With only had three days to do rehab and get strength back into my legs.
A climb like Baw Baw is extreme to the max. I should have given up the hope of climbing a climb like this overcoming such a serious injury as an Achilles. Then again I am a stubborn son of a bitch!
I’ve been coming to the Domestique rides since 2012. Nothing was going to stop me from missing this series. I had doubts about injuring myself further. Then I noticed that Andy Van Bergen posted a note on Facebook. “If anyone happens to be coming, but not riding and fancies being our photographers driver just drop me a note! THANKS!”
It was funny as early on in the week when I was limping heavily. I was going to ask if I could tag along in the photographers car as an option. I woke up at 5:00 am and arrived early so that I could get some riding in. Planning on doing the Tanjil East & West climbs. Maybe even a little Baw Baw. Being me I sussed out possible PB’s around the area. Which was stupid as I was recovering from a serious injury.
Tanjil Bren climb
I kept saying to myself to take it easy, as didn’t feel 100% on the day. When I hit the climb to Tanjil Bren instinct took over & I gave it some gas. Tanjil West is 1.3 km in length with an average gradient of 6.8%. Quite deceiving as most of the climb is around 8 – 10%. I was going to see how the legs were going & they were pure gold. The KOM on Tanjil West is 22 km/h & if I was on form I knew I could take it easy.
I was smashing up the climb in the big dog & I was sitting on 30 km/h on the first steep section. When I hit the 10% bit and was halfway there I was able to keep it in the big dog and only slowed down to 27 km/h. This was going to be an easy KOM. I thought it was too good to be true. A car came up from behind. I had to move tight into the left side of the road which threw my rhythm.
I tried to keep the power going but my chi was gone & I ran out of power. I dropped it down into the small ring & the lights went out. My legs were screaming and I tried to keep it at a high tempo as you never know. I could have salvaged this climb but as the story of the past fortnight went, I was cooked. The first half I averaged close to 30 km/h. Overall I averaged 17 km/h. You can probably work out the math. Recovering from injury sucks.
2016 Domestique Baw Baw ride
So instead of climbing Mount Baw Baw. I climbed into the photographers 4WD & chauffeured him up the mountain. This allowed me to jump out with my SLR & get a tonne of photos along the way. As a bonus I got to give shit every now & again when I recognised someone. I would have much preferred to climb. But this was second best & I still enjoyed myself & was able to catch up with a number of mates.
The carnage was amazing to watch from the car. You could really see the hurt everyone was feeling. I never shy away from anything hard and I felt strong on the day. I felt I may have had the strength to climb Baw Baw. Maybe I would have just hurt myself more. Its a what-if situation, and with a three month old son I can’t afford to be injured.
I woke up the next morning a bit sore just from my 25 km ride so it was probably the best move not to climb Baw Baw.
There will be next year……