I accomplished what I aimed for, i.e. to finish the 95.4km race course. This was a training session for me, one in the midst of a hard training block & road racing (run). I learnt a lot today and can’t wait to have my first targeted(tapered) cycling race 🏁 I cannot recall ever having so much takeaways from one training session, guess the unusual occurence is on account of the race duration – 3hrs, 95.5km at avg pace of 31kmp. No podium for me today but coach said in his spanish ascent “But you did good race man”
- If you cannot clip-in quickly, do not go to the front of the start line.
- In the peloton you need to decide if you will take the risk or take the wind.
- You cannot have aero bars on your bike during mass starts.
- It is not best to voluntarily give up your lead position in the pack before a hill climb.
- Choose the right gear, you will go stronger for longer.
- After crossing the finish line, continue pedaling to save yourself some muscle issues.
No targeted work was done for this event, it was once of those “Just Do It” race. I competed on tired legs, the Friday before the race I ran my fastest 10km to date, Saturday morning I did my usual brick workout [Bike & Swim] at a controlled effort. Saturday evening I started rowing training for the anuual row for charity event in a few weeks. Sunday morning I braved the mass to finish the race course.
Place was cool and colourful, all the different cycling kits and expensive bikes. I was not nervous, just had no clue of how this event will play out.
As we received the starters command and rolled off the line, I saw one guy[my father] fumbling to get clipped-in, all I was saying in my head is “do not fall“, glad he did not. Inherently, within the first 5km there was a fall at the front quarter of the peloton which I narrowly escaped, but quickly swerved and latched onto the brake-away pack.
I remained with the brake away pack [new peloton] until an attack was launched going up a relatively small incline[Tree Houses Park] some 22km into the race. That was soon followed by another attack as we climb the first major incline [Stewart’s Hill]. As a result the peloton was shattered into pieces, with me at the rear. I rode solo for a while before catching up the lead chase pack of 8. We remained as an organized pack, with everyone contributing to the load, during the 58th km of the race I lost contact with the pack as we were about to climb Ben Hill. My novice call lead to my demise i.e. – as we approached the 0.9km hill climb I was at the head of the pack, but pulled out with the hope of taking shelter at the back, but instead I ate dust. By the time I reached the top the guys were out of sight.
I had no choice but to continue in “no-mans-land’ battling the wind, hills and heat alone. After 21km I was caught by a chase pack of 3, then a pack of 2 and within the last 5km another pack of 3 went by. With all intent, I wanted to tag along on all 3 occasions but my legs were shattered. It was either; I continue at my pace to the end or try to go with them and risk “hitting the wall”, hence unable to finish the race. I had nothing to prove so I opted for the most prudent option “go at my pace”.
I eventually completed the final climb to cross the finish line.
My father and I hang around a bit as we shared our race experience. Unfortunate for him, he went down in the peloton crash, got back up but mechanical and marshalling difficulities forced him to do a detour.
We then left for breakfast and continued with our lives.
Action Photos taken by Terrence Lowe