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Northern Combine – 3 day Tour – Stage 1

by the rouleur on June 11, 2011

Well what a cluster f**k I made of that one.

Leaving Melbourne the sun was out and not a bit of wind, winter, not today!  However, arriving at Lancefield it was blowing freezing cold.  A worrying sign, considering I only brought deep carbon rims with me.

After the usual sign on and rider briefing A grade was off, and we were off a few minutes later.  The pace was pedestrian enough and I not the hell-for-leather break-neck speed I had expected. Taking up on this lack of pace were a few spritely riders who throught they have ago and went off the front, no reaction. 15kms in another bloke goes off the front, no reaction.  20km in a rider goes off the front and I think, this is it, if this these breaks come together and start working it’ll be in with a chance. So I move up and join him. Unfortunately, my break was the one where the group decide to start working and quickly goggle us up again. The pace is on. Quickly we go from doing 35km/h to averaging 40+ somehow I find myself on the front- not rhe place i want to be at this speed this early in the piece, so I do a turn and quickly get off.  The pace is on hard and fast, I’m sure riders were being spat out the back but I don’t have time to check behind me. All the breaks are reeled back in, but the pace is still as crazy as ever and it’s starting to hurt. Hearing the breathing of other riders I can tell there in a bit of pain too, it feels better to not be the only one.

This sounds like its all going to plan, and it is.

Until the final turn at Newham up a short sharp pitch, I feel that twinkle in my right calf, it can’t be, a cramp. I slow down, but I can feel it’s on the verge of crippling me.  I manage to pull through, but the pace is so high theres no time for a breather to work through this cramp.  The pace starts increasing as we get closer to the finish and the cramping is gone.  Might be in with a chance here? A few short sharp climbs and then the two fast down hills and a flat run to the line.

It dawns on me we’re 80km into a 40km/h average bike race and I’ve forgotten to drink a thing. As soon as this thought enters my head the cramp is back and on the next steep incline it tightens it’s noose. I’m gone. Spat out the back. It lools like there are twenty left from the 40 who started, not be best- not the worst either.

Suspect I ended up losing a few minutes, I know tomorrow.

Off to bed now.

6km TT & 71km hilly Road race tomorrow. Should be interesting.

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