The! Hardest! Race! Ever!

That's the first four words that come to mind when thinking of the race. The reason the race from Warragul  to the summit of Mt. Baw Baw was so hard was mainly because of the last 6 km up Baw Baw.  I was going so slow my Garmin thought I was stopped!  

This race also had other challenges as well. It was the first time I have raced over 70 km ( the race was 103 km) and it was the first time I have done a race with a feedzone. 

These challenges were not too great though. The distance didn't seem to affect me too badly, I actually felt better than the 80 km ride I did during  the week  (in terms of comfort, my legs were smashed). This was probably due to the fact that I had 4 choc mint gels, 2 bottles of electrolyte cordial and 2 bottles of water. The feedzone went almost as well. Dad passed me a bottle,  I didn't drop it and no one crashed. The only problem was that dad couldn't find the bottle I chucked.

Now on to what actually happened throughout the race. The first half was pretty much continuously the same thing.  A steep uphill, then a short downhill with everyone fighting for position at the front.

The second half of the race had 4 main parts to it. A steep downhill (11% for 2 km), then a 4 km climb at an average of 8% that seemed to get steeper as it went on, a series of 3-4 km uphills then downhills and Mt Baw Baw. Nothing too drastic happened on the steep downhill. A small group tried to get away but was brought back easily and I hit the fastest speed I ever have on a bike (88.9 kph). The same thing can't be said for the next section, a 4 km climb averaging 8%  with some parts getting up to 13.8%. As soon as we hit the bottom the pace lifted. I was feeling OK though. I had a good position at the front and my legs were feeling better than earlier in the day. Then we started hitting 12% ramps and I just couldn't hang on. I slowly went out the back of what was left of the main field. Then I slowly went backwards through the convoy of cars following the front group. The next section of the race was made up of 5 sections of 3-4 km climbs followed by 2-3 km descents. In this section of the race my aim was to try and catch anyone that had dropped off the main field, but at the same time not use up all my energy before Baw Baw. After the first descent I managed to get in a group of 6 and then we only passed a few more people before the bottom of Baw Baw. Two of the people we passed looked like they went down fairly hard and another who was standing beside the medic car looked like he had broken his collarbone.

The next section of the race deserves its own paragraph because it was so hard. Mt Baw Baw is a 10 km climb with an average of 10%. The first part of the climb isn't too bad. But then you come around a corner and it looks like there is a wall in front of you, and you still have 6 km to go. As soon as I hit the first wall all I could think of was making it to the next sign (there was a sign every km saying how far there was to go). After the first km of climbing all that I was thinking about was trying not to fall over because I was going so slow, then I started wishing dad hadn't driven off so I could get in the car. The next 4 km went pretty much the same as the first, then I realised that two riders were coming up behind me. I thought that after all the effort in the previous 100 km of racing I wasn't going to lose 2 more positions. My aim was just to get to 1 km to go sign ahead of the other two riders. I managed to do this but they were closing in fast, as I approached the 500m to go sign it finally 'flattened' out (it was still 8% but it felt flat after the rest of the climb). With 400 m to go I tried to pick the pace up and hold it to the line. I managed to stay ahead of the 2 riders chasing me and finish in 9th place overall.

I was happy with my result as I got dropped before the main climb and also improved on my 13th place in the Mt. Buller Road Race.

Results: 9th 
Time: 4h04:58

Strava Link: http://app.strava.com/activities/48730118


04/17/2013 7:28pm

Hi Ryan, great website. It is great to be able to keep up to date with what you are doing and read all about the challenges you face as a cyclist. I am sure that you would give a lot of new junior cyclists inspiration.


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