Monday, 26 March 2012

Audax 300km - Downs and back

I've always liked long distance, solo rides. We moved out to a rural area when I was growing up, when we lived in town I had a bmx as most kids did, but when we moved to the country the wheel size increased to match the wide open spaces and distances we had to cover. I had this old 3 speed 28" mens racer, that thing could bomb the gravel roads and eat up the road on our adventures to the weir for fishing and swimming, the bomb shelter for Rambo missions or to Bichels watermelon farm for, well, watermelon.

Times change, now I get to bomb on my Cervelo S2, and strangely enough, on some of the old country roads that I grew up riding.  The route for the 300 Downs and Back has some family heritage significance for me, so along with 8 or so other randonneurs, we headed out from Westlake at 7:00am. Only 2 of us doing the 300, with 6 doing the 600.

Out through the western suburbs, east Ipswich and beyond, the smooth blacktop to Laidley (via Walloon, Grandchester and the first burg - Laidley Gap) and first checkpoint at the bakery in town. Brevet card signed, grabbed a hedgehog slice to eat on the bike.

The fastest part of the road is either in the wheel ruts or on the white line... crisp clear day!

This house has an interesting story from back in the day...

The owners had a nephew that attended the local Ag college, he had one of the then latest road bikes, equipped with 12 gears (hey, this was the early eighties). I had a quick ride and was hooked, amazed at the range of ratios - going back to ride my old 3spd just didn't feel the same...

Stopped in Gatton to pay respects at the cemetary, then settled into a nice rhythm all the way to the 2nd checkpoint at MaMa Creek. The bunch must have overtaken me during my stop in Gatton, as they were sheltering next to the shop at the checkpoint. I had planned short breaks, so card signed, an iceblock and a small chocolate milk kept me happy and first to leave CP2, headed for CP3 at the top of the Dividing Range climb. Cruising up through the valley:

Knowing there was water at the top of the climb CP3, I cameled my water and settled into a rhythm, arrived just as they were setting up. Here was where I made my first food mistake, I had my nutrition and hydration plan going well, but then Sandy brought out the delicious banana and date cake. Just one slice couldn't hurt, so downed that while topping off bidons and idle chatter as the other riders rolled in. All good, but then I grabbed another piece to eat while rolling off and I think that filled whatever small space was in reserve for deep breathing, so felt a bit bloated after that.

Moving into the hotter part of the day and not a lot of shade to be found, the pinch of a cramp in the quads appeared and it was time for a short nap under whatever tree I could find. Nap done, then onto the short pinch climbs to Toowoomba itself.

CP4 was at a servo at the top of the range, for some strange reason my sun-addled brain told me to buy more solid food - a potato scallop, mystery meat patty and chocolate milk. Ugh, really didn't need more solids. Bombed down the range, but then felt like I was dragging a truck tyre behind with that food in the belly. Super clear day, After the range the gradient is constant downhill, so averaged 40km/hr+ all the way to Helidon.

Rode through Grantham, still a lot of flood devastation and restoration work going on, despite more than 12 months since the event. CP5 in Gatton and just a powerade and mars bar. The effects of not sticking with my food plan was in full swing, felt like a constant stitch and unable to deep breathe without discomfort. My food plan was simple - a gel each 100, energy bar each alternating 100,  with a single date and drink each 5 or so. Snack on muesli bars or honey shotz  as needed. My brain thought I needed that extra bought food at checkpoints to remain comfortable, but really my calorie needs were met by what I was carrying. Stupid brain.

Fantastic sunset ride on the backroads near the Gatton Ag college.

To be followed by a brilliant moonrise along the flats near Walloon. Very few cars, great temps, good road and just the hum of the Zipps for company. Great day on the bike.

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