THE ANIMAL PERSPECTIVE
The challenge of 160 km is always formidable for someone that does the occassional double century. The attraction is the large groups which can help push you along or encourage the best of ones abilities to climb those hills a little faster, and zoom down long descents without fear, and attack, attack, attack.....yep certainly an oppotunity to shine.
Probably the biggest failing on my part is consistency and endurance to maintain an even pace....simply impossible for the master of surge.
Got off to a good start this year thanks to Randy and the large group of riders that took off early to avoid the speech or rhetoric bullshit:)The road was more clear at the start and less traffic lights than the previous year saw the packs spead out before the Gorge.
Beaut, open road and 34 km/hr up that slight incline to catch Team Autobus before the climb to the dam wall. Their stronger riders attacked the incline so I used them like a bunch of stepping stones and wheel sucked them.....and got the KOM and a new PB (PB's are always good enough). Lack of consistency struck soon after and I slowed to be caught by a large group containing the main pack of the Bastardis....but unfortunately I couldnt hang on the back long enough for Fox Creek, besides I dropped my nut bar and had to go back to retrieve it. Even stopping and turning around, a few hundred riders glide past, but at least I could tackle to Fox Creek climb at my own pace, "Allenz Vichot". Kept true to my style and breached the top where a lot of exhausted riders had gathered....me just kept going feeling better than at the bottom. Gavin caught me before Lenswood so let him go to ride at my own pace. The Swamp and Tiers Road section to Woodside allowed the game of catch up as the gradual climbs suited me fine. After Woodside I feared Inverbrackie as it was the place I cramped two years earlier very badly....but now Im more fit, and had nothing to fear. Caught up with Frank refueling at Littlehampton, but it took me ages to refill those drink bottles so the Bastardis were gone....Littlehampton, Mt Barker to Wistow is basically uphill but large chainring all the way for the animal, overtaking lots of packs along the way - but descending is not my game and had to work to maintain a pace into Strath, 2 hrs, 45 after starting 90 km earlier.
Another lengthy refuel, water and banana stop and onwards Langhorne Creek. Loved the undulating country side averaging well into the 40s dragging a group or two along the way....won the sprint at Langhorne Creek by a wheel. Turned towards the Lake and that right hander towards Milang and that cross wind slowed the proceedings somewhat. It took ages for a decent group to catch up but the legs couldnt hang on at the back and lost that valueable wheel and protection. Rolled into Milang, luckily I pinched two bananas at Strath as that got me going into that head wind towards Finnis. A few groups pushed hard past me but they would pay later on before the Canoe Tree where I rode past those corpses on the side of the road....got faster and stronger the further I got towards Finnis thanks to that one banana......only problem was that cramp would soon set in, but was an advantage as I stood on the pedals into the wind. Finnis to Currency Creek the wind direction changed somewhat but cramping was still a problem so tacked onto a small group of the gumleaf men and rode with them all the way to Currency. In true TDU style there is always one nasty looking incline before the breakthough to the end....this is where riders unclipped to push and cars were stripping gears....me I rode right up the middle, and got rid of that bloody cramp. Breached the top and got hung up on that little devil at the top....gave her a kiss and took her pitch fork which got hooked up in me spinaker (jersey).
Cruised above 50km/hr up to the last 600m where that coppa directing traffic stopped us. After 5 minutes and the formation of a massive group of 50-60 riders the coppa let us go and it was on for young and old.....I got the perfect position as third rider with 220m to go and wound up the bike, the second rider pulled slighly to the right and I saw a gap through the middle and a nod from the first rider and it was on for a photo finish in true Bastardi style.....the rest is history...the animal wins by a rim (see photo).
Thanx to everybody who was there for an interesting ride. 5hrs 45 total time and 5 hrs 10 ride time.....three long rest stops, it was a day to keep hydrating otherwise it would make you pay and destroy your day as many found out. The most enjoyable aspect were the climbs as outclimbed many groups and left many destroyed in me wake:)
Regards Rob (the animal) Rau