It was an early start – we had agreed to meet up at a friend’s house at 5.30am so we could drive in convoy down to Kwinana. It was still dark and I forced myself to eat some Nutri Grain, part of an energy bar, have a banana and drink some energy drink before I left. It’s not fun forcing yourself to eat when you’re half asleep, but I knew I needed the energy later on.
On the drive down, I was thinking, “It’s taking ages to drive down here, you mean I have to cycle this plus go up to Joondalup?”. The further it took to get to the starting point, the more anxious I got about how long 60kms really is.
We eventually got to the Kwinana train station and there was a major buzz in the air. I was starting to feel good about signing up for this. Yes, I’m part of a whole bunch of other fit people! Does that mean I’m fit? Are there people in this group who will struggle like me to do the 60km?
We nudged our way to the start of the C group and waited patiently to give the earlier groups some distance.
And then suddenly the eight of us in our group were off! And at an extremely fast pace!! Too fast really… wayy too fast. I started to get worried.. I was struggling to keep up now, how would I ever last the distance?
After around 10kms, I decided, that’s enough, I’m peeling off and doing my own pace. And luckily eventually so did some others in the group and so I rode with them for a while.
Before I knew it, I was going over Mt Henry bridge and could see the city on the horizon. Had I come this far already? It’s basically half way! And having cycled to/from Mt Henry bridge before, this was familiar territory. The riders seemed to bunch up into the city and soon I was in the middle of a 100-strong peleton and it felt great! We were moving as one big mass towards Mitchell Freeway.
And I saw some familiar faces! The team I was with had stopped at the Charles Street turn off to wait for us! So we teamed up again and it was so much fun. But I wasn’t starting to get knackered and so didn’t really put my time in at the front of the pack. But this stretch from 35-45kms was most enjoyable, riding 38-40 km/h in a group.
But problems struck at the 10km to go mark. My right calf started getting a cramp. Argh!! What do I do? Should I stop and stretch it out and wait until it’s better? Or just bear the pain and keep going? I shouted the rest of the boys that I have to drop off because of my cramp (and because I was soooo tired by now) and tried to stretch my calf and ride slower. I drank the rest of my Gatorade, ate the rest of my energy bar and said to myself… “10kms? That’s my commute to work. I can do this.” My speed dropped down to about 25-30 km/h.
Yes, so I thought, until I saw the hill. Whoever designed the freeway decided to put a big hill leading up to Joondalup! Well, OK, wasn’t the freeway designers fault… but it was not welcome! I really had to reach to the bottom of my energy barrel and push on.. after all, it’s too late to stop or turn around now!
And then there it was – the finish line! I did it! Here we are gathered at the end of the ride –
Final time was around 1 hour 48 minutes, which is an average speed of around 33 km/h.
To finish off the morning, I got to be part of the amazing squeezing in of bikes and riders onto the train back to Perth.