You know those days where you leave for a cruisy 100km, but end up smashing out a fast paced and hectic 160+ instead? No? Just me? Hmmm. It’s been a while between imperial centuries and as with my other 100 mile rides, this one wasn’t planned. The legs felt good, so it just kind of happened. One hundred miles at over 20mph? I’ll take that!
While in Melbourne last week on a FulGaz and Ironman 70.3 work trip, I’d organised to ride with a group that I’d met last time for a punt down to Frankston. I rolled out of my hotel while the sun was only just breaking the horizon, but you could tell it was shaping up to be an absolutely stunning morning on the mainland.
I met the bunch at the usual café and from the start it was a little, ummm, undisciplined. No signalling or calling of holes or road obstacles, plus the front guys were riding through amber lights that they had plenty of time to stop for. I’d already hit an unannounced pothole or two, then as most of the bunch slowed for a full red, the front four blew straight through.
Pop quiz: What do you do when the guys behind get caught at a light? If you answered “slow your roll and soft pedal” you’d be correct. Not so with this lot, they weren’t waiting at all, but simply powered on at full tilt. Terry and I had to go deep on the front to pull our bunch back to them. This happened twice in short succession. In hindsight, we should have just said “f##k it” and let them go.
By the time we’d got to Frankston, I’d had enough. Thankfully most of them pulled over for a break, while Terry took me up a popular local climb. I say “climb” but it was not much steeper (or longer) than my driveway. Still, the view was spectacular across the bay and it’s the only time I’ve had to use the little ring while in Melbourne! 😂
Turning back towards the city it was just Terry and I. He spotted a bunch of maybe 30 riders pulling out of the service station a few hundred metres ahead of us and we decided to chase. A couple of “into the red” turns on the front each and we caught them. It was a STRONG bunch and as it turns out they weren’t mucking about today. They were on a mission and we were soon ripping along, averaging over 40km/hr.
As we got closer to Black Rock, all hell broke loose! I clocked what was going on and positioned myself in the front third of the bunch. The ride switched to a full-on road race finish simulation!
Riders started attacking off the front, the pace went through the roof, I launched a max effort sprint, but was quickly reeled in along with a few others. A few strong riders went clear, I attacked again but had nothing (I blame already having 95km in the legs). Sailing through the clock tower round-a-bout, they all swung off for coffee, leaving my legs smoked and riding solo up to Port Melbourne for my own well earned coffee.
Refuelled and caffeinated, I headed back South and as luck would have it, caught up with some of the Inform TMX Make guys at a set of lights (they’re a National Road Series team). They were obviously out for a café/recovery ride, so I tagged along for a bit as they cruised down the Beach Road to Mordialloc. By this stage I was grateful for the tow!
Swinging around at Mordi I was most definitely on the home stretch, I’d calculated that it was enough back to my hotel to hit the imperial century. I was smoked though, and crawled the final 15km or so on empty legs. I stopped the Garmin at 11:55am and 164km. It’s not often (or ever) I knock out an imperial century before midday!
Distance: 164.8 km / 102.4 miles
Total elevation gain: 662 m / 2175 feet
Average speed: 32.3 kph / 20.1 mph