On 16 October 2011 I finally completed my first Around the Bay in a day bike ride. That sounds great doesn’t it? Okay I’ll admit I did the 100km version from Melbourne to Frankston back to Melbourne but it’s still an achievement.
How did this come about? My good friend Jon is to blame for the hard work. Sometime mid August he suggested this would be a good idea. Now the problem was I’d had this on my to do list for about 10 years so without really thinking I said ‘yes’ sounds like a good idea. This should get me off the couch and increase fitness – easy I thought.
I also said yes as I’d be raising money for charity (Smith Family) and I thought this would help me in the 10k step challenge at work. Seems like a great plan. I forgot you actually need to train for a 100km ride.
Back in 2005 (I think) I did the Great Victoria Bike Ride, from memory a 8 day event (1 rest day) which went for about 600km with one day of 100km. So great I’ve done this distance before, but on thinking back I practised and trained for about 3-4 months on the hills (seemed like mountains) around Hawthorn.
So fresh from doing a fresh calf injury in a tennis grand final (second in 12 months – a real sign I might be getting older) I signed up for some pain. In the two months before the bike ride I started doing bike rides, starting around 20km going up to 60km on my last training run and my body considered going on strike.
When I registered I accidentally ticked the 30-34km per hour group. Was I insane thinking it was all down hill??? On the day of the ride I headed straight to the back group (20-24 km per hour) passing a thousand or so people with great bikes and lots of leg strength. In the ‘riding for dummies’ section I found I was a rare 100km rider, most were doing the 50km ride, obviously the back riders were smarter than me and know their limitations.
So off I headed, dodging school kids in the 50km groups, watching teachers giving up about 5km in saying the kids should be okay (this really happened!). At Port Melbourne the 50km riders turned right and I turned left, all of a sudden I was surrounded. Now my friend Jon was in one of the front groups and started about 40 minutes before me, I was fairly certain he’d finish more than 40 minutes before me 🙂
The ride to Frankston was fairly easy. When I got to the half way point going up a small incline to the football ground I was thinking great an early lunch and a break. No lunch at Frankston. The organisers thought that with the ride starting at 8.00 am for the faster groups lunch at 10 am was too early. So I collapsed on the ground starred at the clouds and tried to remember if I could recall a stopping point for my return.
Eventually I got up and headed back to Melbourne. About 20km back the lunch stop become apparent. Lycra everywhere was my main clue. For lunch we got an energy drink and I’m thinking how will I store that on my bike, about 45 seconds later the problem was solved. Turned out I was thirstier than I thought.
Okay now for the last 30km, should be easier enough after a 40 minute break. Well it did appear that way. I had pushed past my biggest practise run (I really should have done a 80km ride) and getting close to Luna Park I was very confident of success. Then God or bad Karma decided this was too easy and the cold hell head wind started. I lost about 10km per hour speed, which is significant when you consider my top speed.
Only my damn pride kept me going, good for nothing pride. Eventually we turned towards the city, I thought this is great a tail wind, I forgot that city buildings cut the wind – damn buildings #$%#!
Near the end of the 100km I actually got a small second wind and decided to hit my top possible speed and passed the 50-60 year olds. I’m thinking my body just said let’s finished this #$#%@& and I sped across the line. Turns out Jon finished a long way in front of me. My official time was 5 hours 24 minutes which included about an hour of stops. I would have liked to have done 20km per hour average but I’ll take it.
Now my arse was not happy with me, but surprisingly my legs were okay. The main thing is I finished and raised $325 for The Smith Family Charity (thanks sponsors). I was happy that Jon pushed me into this event, that’s why you need friends. I’d like to do this again but this time next year I’ll be on a 4 month holiday (good excuse I think!).