Ever have one of those days where everything just clicks? Where you’re simply dancing on the pedals and floating across the tarmac? It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, you just know.
My ride did not start that way, in fact it started early when the temperature was barely nudging 5 degrees. I couldn’t feel my fingers due to poor glove choice, but after getting the blood flowing over the first 10km I started to feel quite good. By the time I’d ridden the first 35km to meet the regular SunDaze bunch down the other side of Tunnel Hill, I was feeling very good. Eerily good.
Joining the guys in Cambridge, I slipped into paceline and soon enough an “A” group of around six of us formed, speeding towards Richmond. I took a decent pull, then let Nigel and his
motorbike derestricted eBike* hold steady on the front. For quite some time nobody wanted to come around him to take a pull (fair enough). I thought I’d have a bit of fun, so swung out to attack off the front. That was a mistake! As I hit the wind to accelerate past him, I had to muster over 500 watts! Once past, I settled into a still-in-the-red 300+ watts, gassing myself to the turn off. Nigel thought it was pretty funny at least…
* I have nothing but love for eBikes, but I wish they were legally allowed to go a little faster. They enable people who wouldn’t otherwise be able to ride, to enjoy cycling in the bunch again.
Toasted from my effort, I quickly tucked back into the bunch and tried to recover as we turned towards Richmond. This is where things get spicy and I had already burned a few matches! I’ve been working on my “race craft” and positioning recently, trying to predict movements of riders around me. It’s been working well and I am getting more skilled at this. This week wasn’t quite so good.
I wasn’t planning on contesting the sprint, but as we got closer I was feeling confident. My positioning however, was poor. As we approached the final turn, the lead rider swung off leaving me hanging in the wind on the front. Nobody was going to take a pull now and it was too late to swing off myself, so I had no choice but to keep it pinned at a decent pace for the lead-in.
Sitting on the front on the approach I though “screw it” and jumped early, launching a long range sprint attack. Honestly it was more of a lead-out than a sprint and I was expecting somebody to come around me, but I kicked hard enough to hold everyone off! I took the town sign victory by a wheel from Michael in second. That’s two weeks in a row, both on the classic 2002 Trek. Gotta love that!
After coffee, the bunch split for different routes back, with our group taking the long way around via Fingerpost. The pace was kept high as we rolled down the highway. At one point I attacked off the front again, taking John with me. We tried to hold off the chasing bunch for as long as we could, but even punching along at 40+kph they soon reeled us in.
Around the back of the airport I said my goodbyes to the bunch and swung for home. I rolled back to the car with respectable 106km on the Garmin. I actually felt like I could have kept riding all day. I’m not sure why or how, but it was simply one of those (rare) top form days. 🙂
Distance: 106 km / 65.9 miles
Total elevation gain: 848 m / 2780 feet
Average speed: 29.2 kph / 18.1 mph