Epic

Every now and then I like to get out for an epic ride; the type of rides that epitomize cycling just you, the bike and the road or trail as is often the case with me. Wife and kids away for the weekend it provided the perfect opportunity to go out and ride, without the worry of needing to be home for reasons X,Y & Z – the weather was reasonably good too! So let’s get riding!!!…

Mount Macedon
I had planned to head to Bright for the weekend to ride Tawonga / Falls and Mt Hotham, but after getting up at 3:30am to do airport drop offs, I was in little mood to spend another 4hrs in the car driving and so opted to head to Woodend / Mount Macedon instead. There is not a lot epic about Mount Macedon, although it does offer a good opportunity for some good climbs and good views from the war memorial at the summit as well. After doing 2 laps of my normal 30km circuit I had hoped to do some further exploring and ride a climb I discovered online called Alton d’Huez unfortunately a rapidly deflating tubular tire ended my day early.

Alton d’Huez Video stolen from Climbing Cyclist YouTube channel:

Looks kinda cool!

The War Memorial, clearly whomever designed this had bike photo op’s in mind:

Mount Buller
On Sunday morning I packed the car and headed off to Mansfield to tackle Mount Buller The weather was grey, but reasonably mild and I set off on what would be a 100km ride from Mansfield, to Mt Buller summit then back to Mansfield. Being mindful of the coaches’ “don’t bury yourself” comment earlier in the week I tried to pace myself Z2 to Sawmill Settlement, then complete the climb at tempo / sweet spot before riding Z2 back to Mansfield. Even before I got to the gates at the bottom of Mt Buller I knew I was in for a long day an hour in to the ride and I was already feeling it having smashed myself the day before.

What a climb! Soon enough I got to the gates and commenced the climb; Mount Buller for the most part is a fairly constant 6% grade for the first 12.5kms, before ramping to about 13% for the last 1.5 to 2kms. Even completing the climb at tempo was a big effort it was just constant climbing, no rest but reasonably epic views to distract you from the ongoing pain. The cloud cover rolled in from about half way up and got thicker towards the top to the point where you could barely see 2m in front of you. The final 2kms broke me, out of the saddle cranking 39/23 and seemingly going nowhere I was absolutely elated to see the pavement change from bitumen to concrete and the village pop into view which marks the end of the climb. Finally I had made it… And I learnt something about myself too!

The village was dead, it provided an almost surreal experience with the cold, thick fog, and being the only person there – it left me wondering how the hell do businesses stay open over the spring, summer and autumn months, soon enough it was time to depart and head back to Mansfield as I was concerned I would run out of light before I got there! The descent down Mt Buller was fast and hairy, the road partially wet made for some dicey cornering; lucky I was repping the mountain bike skillz or I could have ended up sliding down the road… the trip back to Mansfield was fairly quick if only the 3 hour drive home was that quick.

Total ride time was 3hrs 40mins, 96kms and one of the 7 peaks chalked up.

I was hoping for a view, but all I got was clouds:

Ride Data:

In all a solid weekend of riding, I think an easy might be in order for today!

Now with Power!

So it’s been a while since the last update I figured I should type something for those interested!

“The Best Laid Plans”
Per my last entry, I had every intention to do the Dirty Gran Fondo held a few weeks ago; but then the rains came! The Dirty Gran Fondo is known for being a cold and miserable place in the wet and this year’s running of the race was going to be no different. But the choice was made easier; I’d been shopping for a power meter for some time a few days before the race a set of Zipp’s laced to a Powertap come up for sale… So I made a compromise, Dirty Gran Fondo vs Powertap the answer was the Powertap and a “we will see about the race” was how I left it with the wife whom wasn’t too happy with the $1k spend.

Taking the easy road
On the eve of the Dirty Gran Fondo the heavens opened up with rain from all angles – it hammered down all night. Waking in the morning to the sound of very heavy rain on the roof the option of staying in bed, snuggling up to my Zipp/Powertap wheelset won by a country mile. I had no interest in replacing my bike’s chain, cassette, chain rings, brake pads, brake rotors, bottom bracket and whatever else the mud would have destroyed.

On the positive side, a race provides memories of both good and hard times – but the Powertap will provide at least a couple of years’ worth of training data. In addition the Zipps are a bloody light and fast wheelset not to mention they look pretty trick on the Norco.

Other than a new wheelset not a great deal has been happening on the bike front, the training focus has shifted from Vo2 Max, back to more of a Threshold focus. I am trying to get as much riding in as possible while juggling work, life and the little ones! The balance still needs some work, just when I think I’m doing well I seem to hit a bit of a lull or cop a night of no sleep just to mix it up, BAMM!

The wife and little ones are away this coming weekend, so I might try and get in some epic rides!

Race Report: GCC Presidents Handicap
Coming into this race I didn’t expect much as I hadn’t been riding nearly enough the last two weeks… But it was a flat course and if anything suited me so I was up for giving it a red hot crack. I packed the bike in the car, got dressed and headed off to the race. On arriving there was plenty of riders around looks like a big field!

The race start was fairly uneventful, the first lap was hard and fast with the bunch sharing the work. After the first lap I was hoping we could keep up the pace, but few dropped off as the scratch bunch come racing past (they were a lap behind). I opted to bridge the gap to the scratch bunch with fellow bunch mate and Lara Latte rider Barrie, hanging a few meters off the back of their bunch. Their pace was too fast for me in the wind but they did take a while to disappear into distance.

I looked back only to see the bunch a couple of hundred meters behind me and Barrie tailing off too , at this pointed I wondered do I keep it up or ease up and let the bunch catch me before burning too many matches; I opted for the latter knowing that it would be a long four laps out by myself. After heading back to the bunch I discovered their reluctance to do any work myself and another rider on an older Cervelo did a majority of the work on the front with the individuals slowly dropping off as each lap went passed.

On the bell lap, we got a time to the next bunch; trying to encourage the group down the every so long fast Murradoc rd section of the course I barked a few instructions “short sharp turns” again this fell on deaf ears finding myself at the front of the bunch doing most of the work again… We caught and swallowed up the bunch in front around the back half of the course only a few km’s from the finish. Our bunch was now 4 people bigger and everyone champing at the bit for the sprint despite the leader being 2mins up the road.

We rounded the final corner about 600m out the Cervelo rider jumped, I grabbed a wheel while thinking out loud “way too early” two others from the bunch wound up and pulled alongside; “fark I’m on the inside”, the Cervelo rider ran out of legs about 150m from the line – doubled fark, now I was boxed in and slowing! I managed to pull out behind the other two and give it some stick. I ended up 4th, the spilt between 2nd and 4th being only 0.143 of a second!!!

We were all pretty cuffed with the finish and the race as a whole – it was a good hit out with a few comments about how hard I was pulling on the front of the bunch (really it didn’t seem hard). The flat course suited me well and I left the race richer and with a big smile on my face and now knowing why I spend all my time on the trainer.

Props to Geelong Cycling Club for putting on another great event, and for the pictures.

Late in the Race:

Full Flight, Mid Sprint: