in a fan-forced oven. That's what I was during yesterday's Broadie-Seymour Club weekly handicap at Strath Creek. 35 degrees, winds 40-50kph. We dealt with snakes, dead lamas, wide loads and hurt.
I was the only female racing, and fortunately, being female and having fully operational fluttering eyelashes, I was off limit with three guys: Eric the Yankee, a guy called Tubsa and, The Don, a man of advancing, wise years and therefore worthy of such a name. You get the picture! Now Tubsa worded me up on Eric, and on The Don, so I was set with my game plan and strategies, namely, hanging on for as long as I could. I was told The Don takes time to wind it up. So I found out. 13km out and back, followed by another 12 km I never saw (thankfully!!) It took The Don 13 km to wind it up, so that at the turn around, he was fully wound up into a raging headwind! Ouch.
The race started with a small climb out of Strath Creek and a call from me on the second corner of Shiiitt!! A snake!! Eric had run over a skinny but lengthy black snake, which was squirming all over the road in front of me. What?? Where?? the guys came back at me. They hadn't seen it, least of all Eric, who had made it hurt and pissed in the first place. Up the hill into a tail come cross wind, and we were sailing. Sailing so much Tubsa and I were dropping The Don and Eric on every climb. Sailing so much when I rolled through over the top for my turn on the front, when I turned to look, the guys were 10m or more off my wheel. Or maybe I am a really shit wheel to ride. Ha. Sailing so much, I crisped myself around the edges in the oven without realising it.
It was hot. Did I mention how hot it was? My semi-frozen Sukkie was warm by 10km. As we rode past the lama farm, we noticed one of them flat out on its side, looking somewhat.. well.. dead. I don't think it was, but I wouldn't blame it for acting like it was yesterday. Of course, we then made dead lama jokes to pass the next kilometre or so. As you do.
We were beginning to feel the pace, and the heat at the first turn around point. The Don lead us through, then got a small gap on us. I jumped over to him. knowing he was the deciding wheel to have. A km after the turn around point, a little bit of chaos appeared before us, as the second limit bunch encountered a wide load turning in front of them into a side road. We neutralised until the chaos rode past. Third bunch was coming, the road was flat and the headwind abated momentarily, so I rolled onto the front and drove our little bunch along, looking good for the boys as they rode past. Apparently I looked "strong". Heh my plan worked, cos not long after, I was looking anything but! But you can't let the opposition know that!
At the 20km mark, we'd well and truly left Eric to contemplate his suffering by himself, and were driving it up a reasonable hill. Last 10m and I was slightly off the wheel and a gusting blast hit us head on. My legs swore a lot and my brain gave up just long enough to know that if I pushed through that gap, I'd make it back on only to be pinged again as the guys lifted the pace downhill into the headwind. 20km of hard work. I was happy with that and let Tubsa and The Don sit 500m away from me for the next 3.5km. I did have some thoughts of pushing back over to them, but in the end, decided to manage my own way home in the heavy headwind. With 2km to go to the next section (ie home!!) the second bunch came through, with the call of "Get on!!" I managed to pick up pace alongside them and hooked onto the back, to find Eric getting a tow as well. Good stuff! About 20seconds later, Eric was no longer getting a tow. We hit the bottom of the little climb into Strath Creek, 1km from home, and I couldn't hold on any longer. My legs were basket cases. I went from doing low 20s up the hills into the headwind, to 12kph on this climb. It was short, but steep. It was the end for me.
I rolled into home base, started stripping off to cool down before I had clipped out, threw down some cold fluids. And felt great! The heat was my limiting factor and once cool, felt fine. Stats showed I was at HR overthreshold for an hour. (I am yet to look at the watts) I think the heat had a fair bit to do with that figure, but I was stoked with the work out. I hadn't felt like training, so a race was the easiest way to avoid training. Even though the road itself isn't especially difficult, ie small undulations that roll along, mix in a few other ingredients such as mid 30s heat and a bolshy headwind, it becomes one tough little course. There's little shelter from either sun or wind, and lots of sneaky places to lose wheels unawares. A good place to bake biscuits.
1 hour ago