Feeling quite buoyed by my significant improvement in average speed and cadence in the previous week’s crit, I approached the next week with commitment, vigour and fervour to put in some tough training rides. Each day saw me heading out in the dim morning light to climb over my favourite hills. On the fifth day I tackled what for me was my longest ride yet, the seventy seven kilometres, all up and down route to Bellingen via the rough North Bank Road. Although the pace was generally leisurely, there were some steep hills to remind the muscles that there was a job to do.
At one point on the return journey, a riding companion generously offered to assist my training effort by challenging me to a race to the main road about six kilometres away. I was given a white roadside post’s head start and away we went. The first two kilometres or so were downhill and unbeknown (at that time) to the challenger, I am quite speedy on a tight and twisty descent (forty years of scraping pegs on motorbikes). This put me well in front by the bottom of the hill and spinning along the sometimes flat and sometimes undulating road, bouncing and shuddering over the rough surface. In the last kilometres, a brief glance behind showed my lead still intact with me down in an aero position, legs screaming, heart pounding, lungs sucking air with a shower of perspiration being pulled from my skin. I managed to maintain my lead and accept the imaginary cheers and adulation of the crowd as I crossed the finish line with arms outstretched and fingers displaying numero uno. I’m sure my red jersey took on a yellow hue for the rest of the journey.
Oh, back to reality…So yes, the satisfaction of winning the mini challenge was great, but there was the remainder of the return trip to complete and this was achieved without any further shenanigans.
Here is a profile of the days ride…
Here is a profile of that ride…
Judgment time had arrived, as had I at the local track. A few warm up laps to get the body ready and I took my place on the line. The flag dropped and away we went. The lessons I had learned in previous weeks were flashing through my mind…don’t be in the lead, don’t be on the back, keep the cadence up, keep aero…unfortunately during this busy mental moment I had forgotten to reset my computer on the line and so don’t have the accurate results for the race (Emma mentally slaps herself).
The first few laps were not too fast and I stayed with the bunch, not on the front, not on the back, just right!!!...funny things was, I kept finding myself next to other riders instead of tucked in behind. I found I would often corner faster that the rider in front and not wanting to waste energy by braking, I would drift alongside until our speeds equalised. By this time though, the rider behind had closed the gap and left me out in the wind. Ok, another lesson to learn, or maybe I just need to be more forceful. And hey, whatever happened to ‘ladies first’?
Eventually a couple of us did get dropped as the bunch sprinted up the rise. I managed though, to avoid getting lapped this time until right on the finish line.
So this week I was able to stay with the bunch much longer and I almost avoided getting lapped by the leaders. I estimate my time was about 31kph which is 2kph down from my previous but my cadence would have still been over 90.
I realised that I had done too much riding over the previous week, and had left myself wanting in the energy spurt department. I had done 250km over six days, with a few hard sessions on the day and on the day before. The hill riding on the morning of the crit was probably silly and I have now added that to my lessons learned list. It’s getting to be quite a long list…