14 03 2010

This weekend I went up to Canberra for the first ever Amy’s Ride Canberra. I’d signed up for the 110km Ride (which was really 102km). I was looking forward to riding with Dan, a mate of mine. Actually, he is an old uni friend of my wife’s and we’ve “bonded” over riding.

Dan picked me up a little before 8 this morning and we drove into Federation Mall for the start of the ride. Just like (almost) everyone else, we had our “A metre matters” jerseys on, and it looked great. 700 or so riders all in the same gear, ready to take over the roads. After what seemed like an eternity of waiting and listening to announcements, we were ready to set off.

All started well and we went out with the first group (we set off in bunches of 50 for safety reasons). We weren’t fussed about sticking to the bunch rode at our own pace. I’d set a goal of 4 hours and was working to that. Dan, who in his own words was “a little underprepared” did an awesome job of keeping up. In all fairness, he has just become a dad for the first time and he has prefered to stay at home with his family then hit the bike. And rightly bloody so. Riding might be awesome fun and a great way to keep fit, but its importance pales in comparison to family.

By the time we reached the first real hill of the day, we’d been picked up by a couple more of the groups that had started behind us. On that hill, I was up out of my seat and blew out the cobwebs. I hadn’t been on the bike for almost a fortnight and was feeling a bit rough. I don’t think the heavy French meal of escargot, coq au vin and profiteroles the night before helped either (it was extremely delicious though). Come to think of it, the crappy hotel breakfast didn’t do me any favours either.

Being a little underprepared, Dan lagged behind, and I had to stop or slow down more than a handful of times to wait for him. I tried to push ahead on the hills and then let him catch up. For someone who has had so little training time lately, I think he did a great job. I’m not so sure I’d have done so well with only a handful of short (15km/9mi) rides in the last couple of months or so.

For a ride that was classed as “challenging”, I think we did well to maintain a 26kph+ pace. The speed we lost on some of the inclines we made up on some awesome downhills. At one stage, I hit 71.96kph before getting some “death wobbles” and slowing down was the safest course of action. I think Dan and I agree, the back half of the course was fun.

About 45-50kms in, Dan got his first flat. I’d waited at the top of a hill and when a few riders went past without him, I backtracked to find him with rear wheel in hand. While he sorted his bike out, I took the opportunity to refuel, and soon enough we were on our way again. We made it to the drink station at the 55km mark and after some discussion, decided to push on and take a crack at the second lap. Until this point, Dan had been uncertain if he was going to give it a shot.

At the drink station, another rider came over to perv on Dan’s bike. He liked it so much, he called his mate over to have a look too. I must admit, it does look pretty hot.

Shortly after setting off again, and Dan got another flat, this time in the front. While I made jokes, Dan muttered and cursed as he changed his tube. We set off again, and then stopped. Dan had another flat. He’d missed the tiniest sliver of metal in his tyre and it’d flatted again. Not instantly, but maybe a km down the road. By this stage, he was extremely pissed, and despite having a third (and final) tube, he’d had enough. It just wasn’t his day. We called his Mrs. to rescue us and sat down to wait.

I could have ridden on. I had the legs and wasn’t feeling too bad by this stage, but I’d committed to riding together for better or worse.

In the end, my cyclocomputer read 61.43km in 2hr 32min 37s – that’s 24.16kph (38.4mi @ 15.1mph). Considering the hills, I think we did well. Had I been riding by myself, I think I would have been quicker, infact I’m sure I would have. The hills weren’t as bad as I expected, and I reckon I could have had a crack at 3hr 45 for the whole course. But I wasn’t. I’m not bitter or pissed. It was really great riding with someone and having someone to chat to. It was worth more to me than another century ride.

So there it is – my first ever Did Not Finish. Not what I expected when I started the day, but a good day nonetheless. I’m glad I got to ride with Dan and look forward to riding with him again.




One response

15 03 2010

Thanks for sharing your ride. Sorry about the DNF, but sounds like it was a great day none-the-less. Nice post.

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