22 June, 2008

Pedalling underwater (and uphill)

Well, we raced this morning- a nice little circuit out at Oak Valley. It's a bit under 4 km with a nice little hill about 800 metres from the finish. Oh and at the bottom of that hill is a sharp left hander which immediately heads into another incline before the run to the line.

"C" grade does 8 laps of the circuit and this "C" grader did most of them on his own. I had trained quite well all week and felt really good after surviving last week's road race but there just didn't seem to be anything in the tank.

I guess I have to put it down to poor planning on my part. We were invited over to visit some friends at 5:30 Saturday afternoon and I had assumed (how big a mistake is it to assume anything) that we would be having a meal to go with the several glasses of wine. After a few nori rolls (which I do really enjoy) time and conversation passed until around 8:00pm- at which time I realised a substantial meal was probably not forthcoming.

So we made our farewells and headed home. Now I don't know about everyone else (I mean really now- how could I?) but there comes a point in the evening after which it is advisable for me not to eat or I'll spend a good part of the night awake- not from indigestion or discomfort- my body just seems to need some time after a meal to wind down.

I figured (hoped is more like it) that if I had some hot oatmeal for brekkie with a banana and supplemented that at the race with my power gels and hydration, things would be good.
Baaarrrpp!!! "Wrong answer". I got dropped on the first lap at the hill. So it becomes my own personal time trial.

When I decided to join in the local race circuit, I resolved to finish every race I start unless forced to retire due to mechanical failure, illness or accident- and so I made my way around the course for 7 more laps pretty much on my own. I did pick up another rider for 3 laps but when we made it to the hill on the 3rd of those laps, a 300 metre gap opened and I could not afford to hold back to wait.

Oh yes- I forgot to mention the wind. At about 3:30 this morning, the wind swung around to the south and started blowing at gale force (not quite but gusting to 35-40 km/hr). Some of the racers said, "It'll die down when the sun gets up a bit"- hopefully. Yes, well, someone neglected to notify the weather system responsible that it was supposed to ease off.....so my personal time trial felt like pedaling underwater- uphill- when facing into that breeze (and that seemed to be a larger percentage of the time than finding it favourable).

So I did finish the race- as I intend to do for all races and will come back ready to give it another go next week.

This afternoon we took the mountain bikes out for a bit of a spin with some friends through a wetland area- about 30km all up and just a nice easy ride along some dirt road with some corrugation and rough bits thrown in the mix. Unfortunately we had a bit of an incident where Dee hit some sand and came off her bike- that wasn't too bad as the sand was quite soft....but Al was following and in an effort to avoid running into Dee, hit the brakes (predominantly front). Now from where I was riding, Al stood his bike on it's nose to almost true vertical before coming down. A couple of minor cuts and scrapes and fortunately no damage to Al's shoulder as he recently had undergone surgery and this was one of his first forays back into cycling.

Dee has some abrasions and a bit of a bump which could become a colourful memento for a few days. Her MTB, alas, did not fare so well. A clean broken spoke on the rear wheel gave her a buckle of about 4 cm and a bit later when we took the front wheel off to transport the bike home, we found that the front forks have been twisted rather badly....in fact so bad that we couldn't get the front wheel back on the bike. So the new soft-tail may not be so far away after all.


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