Coach, MiniMe Coach and I headed off to Echuca for a weekend of junior track racing fun, including the Junior State Track Scratch Titles. The racing was excellent and the Echuca-Moama Club did an excellent job over the 2 days of running a well-scheduled slick operation. It’s a pity it was juniors only, as it would have been a great carnival to race. Shannon McCurly and Gavin Sittampalam won the respective Scratch Titles. Dale Parker took out the men’s race, with he and Sittampalam lapping the field in a gutsy effort to stamp the race as theirs. Parker, as a “foreigner” (Sth Aust) was not awarded the state title, but his brilliant racing was recognised at the presentation. McCurly’s race was equally impressive, but I unfortunately missed it, as I squeezed in a 75km ride in the morning, which saw me missing out on a couple of races. There were some really excellent performances: I won’t name names, but I was impressed with the tenacity with which some riders raced, even if they didn’t make the final placings.
The weather over the weekend was hot, and it was even hotter in the middle of the velodrome. I’ve only overnighted once before in Echuca, for the start of the Murray-to-Moyne a few years back. So it was good to be able to wander around, have a few coffees, and second breakfast on Sunday after my ride, watching the tourists stroll by.
Saturday I went for a spin after we arrived, heading out south of the river. All the roads are laid out grid-style, so while some of my planned route turned into gravel roads, I was able to take other roads and not get lost. It was hot by mid-morning when I left, and a slight breeze was up, which on the flat, straight roads become a bit tedious and wearying. The road surface wasn’t bad, but after 20 kms of going in a straight line I was wishing I had my ipod with me – boredom was setting in at a fast rate. Flat, brown paddocks, flat, straight roads with head or side wind = character building tedium ie good mental training for time trialling! At least the traffic was minimal and very cyclist aware. By the afternoon, after racing, I was pretty stuffed, so didn’t go out for another ride, but headed to the local bar with my bodyguards for a cool drink and review of the day.
Sunday morning I headed out early, with the aim of 80km before racing started. A flat just over the border stole about 20 mins of precious time, as I changed the inner, and headed back to the accommodation for another tube, much to the amusement of the Flowerpot men. The road conditions in my state of birth are much worse than Victorian roads. Harsh is a good word to use, very harsh. And just as boring, but at least there were bends early on in the road I took, as it followed some of the river. I had some company for a short part of the ride, which broke up the monotony. After 5km of heading out on a straightish road, even my young companion had had enough and she asked if we could turn around to stop the boredom! After dropping her back home, I headed out again on the same boring road, and into the same boring headwind. Once clear of the river, the landscape opened out in the same flat brown expanse. The road surface was dead, rough, harsh. I was mind-numbingly bored. I dreamed of a dually to save the pounding my poor body was suffering. By the end of it, my arms, shoulders, upper and middle back, glutes and quads were sore. My butt didn’t want to know about the saddle any longer. I felt like I’d been pummelled by Big Helga of the savage Swedish massage, or hit by one of the sheep transport trucks that passed me. Flat means you don’t change your position too much, which means if you’re not used to it, it HURTS! after 3 hours of it. No wonder there are so many triathletes around Echuca-Moama.