Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Picton Sutton Forest 200

The dawned brightly if a trifle cold and in my preparations for the ride I soon realised that I had managed to "leave" my atm card somewhere. I scraped up some cash from various tins and the car change bin, donned the riding gear banking on a nice sunny day and set off for Dapto.

With the sun not yet up it was quite cold and I arrived a little late in Dapto to see that a solid group of 8 were ready for the ride, some familiar faces and some new. After the formalities we set off towards the first objective challenge of the Keira Climb. The sun was up now and pacing along the Princes highway at 30km/hr was quite pleasant. Soon the climb loomed and I felt quite good on the lower slopes and up higher maintaining a steady pace, and enjoying the work. Reaching the ridge and commencing the descent towards Picton I began to find the going quite cold and before long found that my thighs, protected by only a thin layer of lycra were getting very cold and cramping.

This became worse when ascending the sharp undulations into Picton, but I stuck with it and was soon at the cafe enjoying a sausage roll and warning drink. Heading off on the next leg however I very quickly felt both colod, crampy and nauseous. At some point the cramps really started to bite and got off the bike to stretch and swallow some enduralytes. The I vomited a bit and swallowed some new tabs.

I felt very low at this stage and with a long steady climb into a cold headwind, I wasn't entirely confident that I was going to make it very far. I have come a long way in the last twelve months and my mental appraoch to riding has altered significantly. I just dug down and thought I can ride slowly, there's no rush, I'll just do what I can when I can, how I can.

After a while I began to find that ther lethargy and pain was receding, I regularly crunched on a glucodin tab and the constant effort of climbing was having the positive effect of warming me up. By the time I reached the halfway point at Mittagong I was feeling a lot better.

The next 35km to Sutton Forest saw me grow stronger and when added the realisation that I could now turn and take the breeze from behind was an added impetous. The remain 79 kms across the Highlands and down Macquarie Pass sped by in less than 3 hours and I was most pleased to get back to Dapto in just over 11 hours, catching up with Barry S who had punctured.

This ride illustrated just how much can change during the course of a ride. Previously when I had experienced cramping and other difficulties I had assumed that that was it, and that my ride was done. This time I had no choice but to continue and manage myself on the bike and gradually regained my confidence and strength as the ride went on. So a great ride and a really good learning experience for me. Experience does count.

Mileage in Kilometres = 5057
Brevet quota = 1900

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