I stood in the middle of a town I had never been to before, wearing not much and freezing. I’m about to do the Blaney to Bathurst fro the first time, this will be my longest timed event to date.
Back up to 4:30 this morning. It was even colder, 7c according to my phone and I had to get out to the buses at Mt Panorama for the transfer to the start in B We were staying on the eastern side of Bathurst and I had a short ride out to the start from here but I was torn. I had to carry what i wanted to race with and I did’nt want to lug a whole lot of cold weather gear. Opted for the leg and arm warmers but went the summer gloves. Departing it was cold, even colder with the morning air and my fingers were frozen in a matter of minutes. The trip out did take long but the tempreture never got any warmer. This got worse when I stopped to wait for the bus. It ended up being 45-50 minutes before they got my bike loaded and I was shiverring. This is about the point the sunlight finally decided to peek its head up and offer no warth what so ever.
The bus trip took about 30-40 minues, I don’t really remember, I chatted with the guy next to me but I was gratful just o be out of the cold. It at these points you reflect and go how the hell did I end up on a bus in the middle of nowhere with a large amount of middle aged men in lycra. It was 06:30 and my phone pinged to say I had a message. I opened it up to find some final words of encouragement from my coach and its these little things that just make me appreciate him more and am grateful for guidance. My goal here was pretty simple and that was finish to as close to 3 hours as possible. Tough with the 3 climbs be doable in my head.
Which brings me back to the start line, I’m still cold but have braved removing the leg warmers. Somewhere in my reasoning system I decided to go in the 45kph+ group, figuring once i got dropped the next group through would pick me up and so on. Wasn’t till the start when Crafty (who was MC’ing) made a point of saying how all the people how didn’t make the gold wave were all at the front of my group. I hung on for about 20 minutes but the pace was relentless. Dropped off the group with a couple of others and lost them within a few k’s. Felt pretty crappy here, thought I would have held on a bit longer. Took the second group another 40 minutes to catch me. I got in with them but ended up towards the back when we made the left hand turn into the first hill. Kept a good pace but just lost contact the the main bunch, tried to get back on with another rider but didn’t quite get contact. Ended up in a small group for quite while till my bottle cage cracked and I had to stop to fix it as the bottle was rubbing on the big ring. I lost my group and set back off. This was about the 52k mark. Pushed along on my own agian till I got in another group and stayed with them till the beginning of the main climb. This is where the front of the next wave caught us and everybody just splintered. Took the first k to get the gel to kick in but the hill was ok. I just paced myself and just stuck to my training all the way up trying to keep my cadence high. Came in at 19:54 which is a bit short of where I wanted to be on the climb but I didn’t have anyone over take me on the way and I passed several without going into the red.
From the descent to the end was basically on my own. This felt the best of the day and I seemed to have more consistent power then during my earlier solo efforts. Pushed on to the end just trying to keep the cadence as high as i could and keep low in the wind. Got to the end and pushed hard to look good across the line. Unclipped and just felt overwhelmed by it all, briefly till a kid handed me a banana, that solved it all. 3:21:58
Till next year….