Saturday, April 29, 2006

Back to Bright and Trofeo de Lang Lang Ride reports

Well what have I been up to apart form working in the last week some might ask? Riding naturally, and here follows an in depth report on my recent chamois related activities.

First to Bright, for a lovely sunny long-weekend in the saddle climbing some of Australia’s largest montagnes. The weekend kicked off with a relatively easy day riding the Rosewhite loop to Mt Beauty from Bright- all in all about 120km in the saddle with two very manageable 6-7km climbs being the Rosewhite and Tawonga Gaps. By my own climbing standards (terribly poor I might add) I was on fire on Saturday. Riding the two short climbs close behind the big boys of climbing at Hawthorn (Climbing General Jono ‘EPO’ Lovelock, Climbing Lieutenant Shane ‘Llama’ Miller, and hardman of the track and time trial Stuart Vaughan. This was to prove a classic case of blowing ones wad to early, as my form declined over the weekend and I got a rubbish handicap for the Buffalo handicapped time trial on Tuesday. BALLS PEOPLE. On the roads I managed to win two King of the Wombat sprints- and jumped off to an early lead in that prestigious competition. We also started to sprint at cattle crossing signs- but there were about 50 on the roads between Bright and Mt Beauty- and that competition consequently lost its prestige. Shane and Jono also went head to head for a number of dead roo sprints. The victory salute was either squirting the drying carcass with your bidon, or a bunny hop of the roos tale. The smell was so bad- I kept my distance.

Sunday was the highlight of the trip for me- climbing the mammoth Mt Hotham. 30kms at 4.5%. It doesn’t sound steep but there are parts that kick to around 10%, and there’s a massive 3km false flat in the middle. Within the first few kilometers there’s ‘the Meg’ which is really step, and breaks up your rhythm. Then the climb steadies out ranging in gradient between 3-6%. Then there’s the false flat and afterwards the roads turn North yet again at about 3-6%. With about 6km to go things start to get tough, really tough. First there’s CRB Hill which is about 2km at 7-10%, and then the final hill into the resort which is about the same 2-3kms at 7-10%. An absolute ball breaker. Shane and Jono told me all about the Meg and the false flat but neglected to tell me about the last two hills. Thanks guys. I think I averaged about 10km/h going up the CRB Hill, and 8km/h going up the last hill. SHITHOUSE. To make matters worse visibility was cut to about 50 metres with the fog- You couldn’t tell what was about to hit you until it smacked you right in the face. I was glad to get to the top in one piece, and quickly inhaled two coffees, two cokes and a biker burger. I didn’t have anything to eat on the way up which is a huge mistake when you’re going to be climbing for an hour and fifty minutes. The descent is just about the scariest thing I’ve ever done. After coming off down Kinglake I’ve been descending like an absolute cat, and even the shortest descents in the Nongs send a shiver up my spine. Hotham has a bit of everything- wet at the top with snow and ice lining the road. Fallen rocks, loose gravel, corrugated surface in parts- the lot. Thankfully it wasn’t all that cold on the day because that would have been the icing on the cake. I managed to get down all in one piece- but altogether a little rattled.

Monday was an easy day with a slow 50kms up the Buckland valley chasing KOW points. I won the only wombat sprint of the day taking an unassailable lead in that most prestigious of competitions. Llama and Jono were left to fight it out over the dead roo latter in the ride. That night the folks at Toorak road put on a huge feed of pasta, and the handicaps for Buffalo were revealed. I got 1:10 which was an absolute travesty- but no worries. All in all a great night- and a big thanks to Phil, Mike, Roberta, Stuart and Matilda (hope I haven’t left anybody out) for a great nights entertainment.

Tuesday- Buffalo beckons. The weather was wonderful yet again- but I could have done with it being a bit cooler to keep the heart rate down. Buffalo is a great climb- but at only 20.9km long, is not nearly as daunting as Hotham. It also doesn’t have the steepness in sections which really kills you on Hotham. What it does provide is a more constant climb. It’s a pretty steady 4-5% for the whole 20kms- with a short maybe 1km false flat in the middle, and a 1.5km flat section over the top of the climb, before the short climb to the chalet. I rode 1.12.25. I took it far too easy at the bottom- thinking that it got really steep up near the top- it looked much worse from the car than it did on the road. Big Ring Bex won the handicap, and Jono rode the fastest time yet again.

Some highlights of the weekend for me were John, Roberta and Bex really toughing it out up the big climbs. Well done guys on some huge efforts, for people who don’t do a lot of climbing you really rode hard. Mountain Goat Jono for his cycle2max topping time up Hotham, and all round goat supremacy over Llama child Miller. Also massive props must go to Matilda for driving the support vehicle and being around to lend a hand during the weekend- thanks heaps. To all the organizers- Laurie, Phil and Stuart- well done everything went off without a hitch, and everyone had a great time. Thanks to everybody for the making the weekend so enjoyable! The thing that really inspired me about the weekend were the performances from all riders. Regardless of age, experience, fitness etc, everybody gave it a real good shake and left nothing in reserve. BRAVO ALL. Pats on backs all round.

Now to the Troffeo de Lang Lang- This is a great race that I recommend to all Hawks next year. After having a big week of training including Back to Bright, and a bit of moonlighting on the track on Thursday night- I was feeling pretty confident of a good showing in B-grade at Lang Lang. This confidence was somewhat punctured by the news that the 100km course included three shortish 2km climbs, with one climb 15km before the finish. GASP. HILLS. The race was dominated by two teams- the Croydon Cycleworks guys who did the lions share of the work on the front of the race, and the 6amers. I was riding pretty strongly for most of the race near the front. But the last hill proved too much as the big boys really smashed it. There wasn’t much more I could of done on the day (as opposed to beforehand where training more and losing 10 or so kgs would have probably helped!). I moved to the front of the bunch before the climb- anticipating that I would slide back on the way up. I did slide back- but a bit too far. I made it over the top of the hill just hanging on to the back of the bunch, but couldn’t go on with it over the top. But I wasn’t alone- more than half of the pack got stone cold dropped going up the hill. I ended up time-trialing to finish coming in somewhere between 20th and 30th overall losing about 30 seconds on the front bunch. All in all a strong race- but I really have to work on my climbing legs and lose of few kgs to become more competitive in the road racing department. All well and good. The 6amers got a 2nd and a 3rd place, and I hope the winner was from Croydon because those guys really worked hard. Jono and Dave T were in the hard luck department suffering from a broken chain and flat tire respectively. Bad luck guys- as both of you could have been in with a chance of snaffling the biscuits had your luck been better.


Blogger C-mac said...

I'm thinking of sandbagging in B grade so I can get in your blog Timbo. Hope you dried out today...

5:40 AM  

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