After work last Friday afternoon, after gluing new Schwalbe tubs and collecting all the nutrition and spares I needed from the shop, I headed off to the Mansfield tour. This is a race in the Victorian Road Series, and I ended up being the sole Phoenix representative (after deciding at the last minute that you wanted to head down *rolling eyes* – Michelle).
As for the drive, well when you leave Canberra for Victoria at about 5pm on a Friday afternoon you will find yourself in a queue of cars as far as you can see. Cars lined up all the way to Yass, with everyone heading home for the afternoon.
Anyway the rest of the drive was very Hume Highway standard with very little happening.
Once I arrived at 10.30pm I went straight to sleep in my luxurious (yes, I said luxurious, and I’m sticking with that) accommodation (Michelle would like to add at this point the race planning record shows that she was going to book a house with a spa, A SPA!). My accommodation for this race consisted of my trusty car, the back seats folded down and the mattress of my bed placed in the back. I know what you must be thinking right now but hear me out! You must have a few questions, and luckily here is a list of the questions I’ve answered since the weekend…:
- Where did you put the TT and Road bike? The TT bike was locked on the roof and I just took the wheels of the road bike and it fitted across the front seats.
- Wasn’t it cramped in there? Well, surprisingly, actually not! As I said the mattress of my bed fitted in there, so I could fully stretch out. I’m just going to add that only the world’s best cyclists get their very own mattress taken to races with them!
- And finally, you didn’t go all weekend without a shower did you? The answer is no. I paid a massive $30 for an unpowered campsite which had an amenities block.
So, thank you to everyone for your interest in my wellbeing (and accommodation standards). With all those questions answered I went to bed, looking forward to the next day of racing.
I woke up and headed to rego, before rolling on to the start of the TT. I got my TT bike set up with my disc wheel, and after a brief warm up I was off. Now, not being able to ride or drive the course beforehand, all I had to go off was the profile of the course from the tech regs. This (very clearly, I’ve since checked!) showed 4km of uphill then 12km of downhill. Awesome! Given this profile I decided to go out real hard. I know I can put a lot of time into much of the field on the hill, and then it’s all downhill the rest of the way. What the profile didn’t show was it was 4km of uphill but then 12km of rollers to the finish. You can imagine the suffering, I didn’t need to… As the rollers rolled, I blew up. I crossed the line in 34th and 2min 34sec behind the winner, Sean Lake.
After a brief break it was time to put the race wheels on my Wilier road bike and the race numbers on my Ollo jersey for the afternoons 92km road race. For the afternoons race I was just going to see how the race panned out. It was a rather uneventful stage for me, with the speed the bunch was traveling, and tomorrows stage up Mt Buller suiting me, I decided to just hide in the bunch and ride it out to the finish.
Going over the climbs on the return leg I made all the major selections and ended up rolling across the finish line in 30th position with the main bunch 50 sec down on the stage winner Pat Lane. The 92km stage we rode in 2h 10min so it was a very fast stage, I felt pretty good all day just sitting in.
To complete an eventful day of riding, I got a pizza, went back to my luxurious digs (I’m sticking with that word, the pizza only makes it more real) and then sat on my bed eating my pizza and watching a movie. I know you’re envious (again, how much better would it be to eat pizza and watch a movie – in a spa! – Michelle).
There was only the one stage on Sunday, which takes the field up Mt Buller. I rocked up to the start line and had a chat to Greg, one of the moto-coms who’s also from Canberra, about yesterdays stage. Its interesting to hear about the race from his point of view and its funny how the moto-coms really are at times as much a part of the bunch as the riders themselves. Like how, when a rider in stage two flatted and was going back through the bunch really quick we all had to swerve, and that he also had to get around somehow.
Anyway, soon the stage was underway. The bunch seemed to stay together until the bottom of the 15km Mt Buller climb, when it all started to string out. After going around a few riders I found myself in the main selection on the climb, there were attacks going constantly.
Knowing I could either sit in, hoping each attack would come back, or get aggressive and get in the mix, I chose to get in the mix. Probably the wrong call! Eventually, after much grabbing of wheels, leaning on pedals and with aching legs, three kilometres from the top I popped. I came across the line in 22nd place.
All in all I finished 18th overall on GC out of a pretty strong field and had a really enjoyable tour. I would certainly do it again! Thanks to everyone that wished me well on Facebook, Twitter, and in person.