Monday, 10 November 2008

Geelong Otways Classic ie the Original One!

The human body is a weird bit of kit. While Mdm Hr was powering along in the early stages of our ride yesterday, my piriformis, ITB and hammy were wreaking havoc with my left leg, and forced me into groveldom. Yet in the final 50km, as Mdm Hr grappled with cramping and fatigue, I hummed along with energy to burn.

Yesterday was my 3rd Otways Classic, after missing out on it last year. It’s excellently run, with a small field capped at 400, well supported, and the route is terrific. The worst and best bit is riding down the hill into Lorne. You catch glimpses of the brilliant irridescent blue of the sea, and turn to look at it, then realise you’ve got another hairpin corner coming up. So you do this mad thing of looking left at the sea, then look at the road, then look at the ocean, then look at the road. Makes for an interesting descent!

We started out in the lead group, hoofing along into a stiff headwind (that would stay with us for most of the day), at about 35-40km an hr. After 20km of this, sitting in about 3rd wheel, I said to Mdm Hr that I wasn’t going to be able to keep up the pace. 5 km later we both bailed. I kept looking at my watts, and thinking no way am I going to be able to finish 152km when I’m starting out regularly sitting on 120% of FTP, with my HR hitting 90% max. As Liz commented, it was like sitting in on a points race! So we slogged along for another 30km into a quality headwind, averaging 21-22 kph. By that point I was over it and wanted to go home! My left leg began to complain bitterly from the constant driving, so that by the time we got to Dean’s Marsh and the first major climbs of the day, I was experiencing power failure in my left leg. I had to stop on both climbs to ease out the pain searing in my hammy and left glute. You can imagine the misery and humiliation I felt watching that time triallist ride away from me up a decent climb.

I managed to get over the hills by hitching a ride with any bloke who had a friendly wheel (Honey, I behaved myself. I promise! ;-) ), and ended up myself giving some very tall guy a tow for the part of the way. His mates rode up to us and paid out on him with a bit of friendly ribbing; it would have been a funny sight to see this hulk of a man sitting on a small woman’s wheel. But he kindly reciprocated when we turned back into the wind near the top of the climb, realised I was going backwards, took the lead and towed me over the top.

There were a few near misses around Dean's Marsh, the least of which was the sight of a large 4wd ute that had obviously rollled, just after our 1st checkpoint at Bambra. This car had passed us at speed earlier, and he must have lost it on a downhill corner, flipped, landing on the other side of the road (cliff face side, fortunately for him) rubber side down and facing uphill. How he didn't take out any cyclists, or motorbike riders coming up the hill is amazing. We didn't hang around to think too much about it, as there were enough people there already, picking up bits of car off the road (we'd only just missed it fortunately) and the driver was intact and walking around.

Once over the range and heading into Lorne, my leg eased out and didn’t trouble me for the rest of the day, thank god. I’m really happy with the way I descended into Lorne, as I am a mediocre downhiller (recently upgraded from a sad case), but I felt comfortable taking the corners and left the brakes alone until I caught up with a woman who was obviously not comfortable with the descent. Funnily enough she was wearing a Cyclones gillet. Unfortunately I wasn’t brave enough to overtake her, as the corners were coming up pretty rapidly, and I didn’t want to hit a corner at real speed and overcook it. Sitting behind her into the final bends into Lorne, I had time to be blown away by the view at least.

Lunch at Lorne, very tasty with excellent company, then back onto the road and more ocean views to enjoy. At the 110km mark I had a desperate sudden craving for a cold, fizzy drink, so we did a quick detour into a servo. I bought a Gatorade and put it in my empty bidon, and sculled most of bottle of soft drink, with Mdm Hr urging me on (think Blackboard on Mr Squiggle: Hu-rry u-p, hu-rry u-p!), as she was very conscious of the state of her own body, which was beginning to complain and show its malcontent at what we were doing. After throwing back 400 odd ml of sugary fizzy goodness, we promptly rode up a 3km climb. The throw back came close to being a throw up, but I managed to keep it down, plus ride away from that nasty TTer who had thrown mud in my face earlier. Pox on you, Mdm Hr! Weirdly, from that point on, I picked up, and even managed a few sprints on the way home, showing some guys how to finish off a 152km ride in style. One guy was convinced my PT hub had some kind of motor in it. At first I thought he was joking, then realised he was an idiot. But it was kinda funny.

So it was a classic ride, full of lows and highs, sunburn, wind burn, pain, pain, pain and did I mention, pain? It was great to see a number of friends riding it as well, some as first timers, and finishing with smiles on their faces. I’ll leave the scuttlebutt to Mdm Hr. I don’t see anything wrong with smsing ride reports every 50km…….

1 comment:

hippy said...

Oi! Long rides are mine.. you're supposed to be a trackie! :P