As Brendan mentioned on Friday, I spent the weekend being very un-metal, racing the Tour of South West with a bunch of mates.
It was the first time this tour had been run, but all in all, it was pretty well organised. It was hard, hard racing. You could probably hear me howling from Melbourne.
The first stage, a road race, was about ten kilometres out from Warrnambool. I was in c grade, and thus had to do eighty five kilometres. The wind was howling. On the second lap, as the bunch began to literally explode in the cross winds, I did too. Watching the now much smaller bunch ride away was pretty frustrating. I put my head down though and, with bunch of dropped C graders and B graders, we made our way around for the required laps. About five or so minuted down but, all in all, not too shabby.
Except I was fucked. And I had to do a time trial in the afternoon!
Sharing battle stories was great fun. Steve and Adrian had raced really well, with Steve pulling off a second place in a bunch sprint. Everyone was knackered. We lay around on the grass, idly thinking about putting time trial bars on our bikes, and hoping the ominous clouds to the west weren't indicative of the weather to come.
I eventually put my stupidly short time trial bars on. I bought them for fifty bucks off a forum I frequent a few years back. I'm fairly confident they do nothing in terms of my aero position.
Just a few minutes before my start time, the rain started to come down. To pour. I was drenched, cold, and shivering.
On the start ramp, I resisted the urge to, when the commisaire asked me if I was comfortable, punch him in the face. Not his fault really but, all things considered, how could I be comfortable? I'm pretty sure by that point my balls had retreated into my body cavity.
Down the ramp I go, thundering along with a sweet tail wind. Once I got into the cross winds though, my mornings effort came bak to haunt me, and I crawled along at an embarrassingly slow pace. Stopped the clock at something outrageously slow, and went to sit down. Some of the others, most notably Jeremy (who had had a hard morning's race) and Adrian had done really fast times, placing them, for a while, in the lead.
Done for the day, we limped home. Everyone was rooted.
The next morning crit featured a monster of a hill. It was a great course but, as with all good things, it was going to come at a price. The way I was feeling that morning, it looked like it was going to be my life.
Race starts at a cracking pace, in an attempt to shed the weakest links. First few minutes of the race I saw the upper end of my heart rate almost straight away. The leaders were destroying the hill and going flat chat, close to 55kmh on the flats. I held on for as long as I could but couldn't handle the heat. That distant popping sound you heard on Sunday around 9.30 was me exploding. The one shortly after that was Gene exploding.
Meanwhile, as I sat in the gutter and sulked, Adrian was going for broke. He was sitting in fifth on the GC, 36 seconds behind. And he was trying tog get it back. All of it. And he nearly did it. For a while there, the gap was out to forty seconds. He was out there, by himself, literally burying himself. He did hold on for a fantastic, enviable win, but didn't quite hold out for the overall classification. He went away with second...still a fantastic effort. Half a minute later, the bunch came round, and Steve mixed it up again in the sprint, coming away with a third. Hipster domination.
I would be lying if I said I wasn't a bit disappointed at my showing on the weekend but, when I think back to all the other fun, and success on behalf of the other guys, I can't help but be stoked.
Great little two day tour, one which I'm sure will carry on, perhaps as part of the National Road Series a little later on.
I'll be back, probably with sweet ENVE wheels, and a better engine.
Here's the song I had stuck in my head all weekend: