Loz and I have been busily training for the Sea 2 Summit. As part of our training we decided to do Fitz's Challenge as a practice run, to get our food, tapering and on day nutrition right.
I am glad we had this experience as apparently, I am not very good at it!
Loz: "Did you just run up the stairs?"
Em: "Yes, I always run up your stairs!"
Loz: "No exercise means no exercise"
Em: " :( "
I also got into trouble when I would be walking and then just start jumping and leaping around as I tend to do from time to time. Apparently that isn't allowed. Neither is dancing around like an idiot.
But overall everything else seemed to run pretty smoothly.
Loz and I had a great drive down, reminiscing about the drive on our family ski trips to Jindabyne. We even pulled out Pet Shop Boys - Please, just for some giggles. Apparently car dancing is also not allowed, but we made some exceptions for "Opportunities" - Em at the top of her lungs "I've got the brains, you've got the looks, lets make lots of money!"
(If you have no idea what I am talking about - heres the song below - not entirely sure whats going on with that video clip tho!)
Ok... now.. back to the roadtrip report.
We arrived at the hotel just in time for dinner... (more carbs) and dessert. Then it was time to pack our jerseys full of GU, Shot Blocks, Hammer Bars, bananas, spare tubes, raincoats, tissues, kitchen sinks, baby elephants.. etc. You get the idea. 3 tiny pockets and sooo much stuff.. my jersey was so heavy it ended somewhere in the vicinity of my knees.
Sunday - Ride Day
We headed to registration, got our helmets checked and were ready to go.
This was my first bike event in my short 3 months of being a cyclist! I was soooo excited! But I couldn't jump up and down like I usually would, as per the tapering rules so I just stood with a big smile beaming across my face instead.
The ride was fabulous. There were so many people. Most went out hard at first. I am more of a tortoise. I like to start out at a happy pace, keep a happy pace, and finish at the same happy pace. There were some experienced riders, and some weekend warriors which would burn out soon enough. Burning out for me wasn't an option - I had 248kms looming in the back of my mind. So I kept plodding along.
Despite my tapering and carb loading attempts, my legs were feeling pretty useless for the first 20kms. They didn't seem to have the energy or freshness I had assumed would be there. I trundled on and then they started to feel much happier.
The last 5kms into Tharwa was so much fun. Lots of rolling hills with more downs than ups which allowed me to get some awesome speeds going. If there was a downhill road racing event, I would be in it in an instant! I managed to set a new high speed of 72km/hr on one of these descents!
My goal was 5.5hrs - 6hrs with a 20km/hr average and I was going to do my darndest to stick to it!
Back on the bike and I was feeling good.
Slowly but surely, I kept trudging along.
When I hit 75kms I bonked (bike term for being energy zapped). I had gotten slack on my refuelling and I paid for it. The boys went up a hill and I just couldn't keep up.
I had aimed for 20km/hr average and to finish in 5 1/2 to 6 hours, and that was exactly what I did. (5:40).
A quick warm down and then a bit of a chillout session on the grass with the other riders. I got the giggles once again. Cyclists are a funny lot! All I could hear was moaning, and complaining but all said with excitement and a sense of achievement. Everyone was so stoked to have finished.
I then spotted "Santa" and "Blue Jersey Guy" and had a great chat with them, with some more whingeing and complaining.
What was everyone complaining about? ...
The Headwind from Hell Iteslf
Cycling is fun. Hills, while hellish at times, are still fun-ish. Headwinds. So.. NOT...FUN!
I decided to stop battling, made it to the bottom of the hill and luckily I snapped out of it. The GU's kicked in, I'd turned a corner onto the flats and the headwind became a sidewind. I felt I was on the final stretch and started flying towards the finish (and the epic hills that were still to come).