Monday, November 16, 2015

A Year Later, thanks mate

The weekend just past I flooded up a few images on my Instagram of me and a great little crew of Sommerville Sports riders taking on Lake Mountain as part of the 7 Peaks Series. My love of social media is well known and the ''Your Memory"' function on Facebook flashed up a photo my wife took of the same event last year, it was a little wetter and much colder. In fact it was so cold I didn't even descend the whole way down due to it being slippy and worried about crashing.
Lake Mountain Circa 2014 look at the dress sense! 

Lake Mountain a year ago I was childless, my ever faithful wife followed be out to the hills to attend the Domestique Event, it was my first ''cycling'' event. Why she even came along I will never know, she just loves to support me in these things when I go solo and I must admit it's nice to have her there for a coffee and chat on the drive home afterwards. I knew not a lot about bikes back then, I still have the same bright white Bianchi, I bought it as I love the images of Italy that conjurer up in my mind when I think of the bike, the Giro, Pantani climbing hills and everything I love about Italy the food, the passion and of course the coffee. It's a 9 Speed, fairly light weight bike that I find suits getting up hills and is nimble enough for my then larger weighted frame.

I turned up to that mountain on my own, I said hello to a couple of people trying to make friends but in the end I road that hill solo for most of the journey in a mix match kit, I carried a few bits of food and jacket that was as drafty as a pair of saloon doors in Texas. It took me 1 hour and 35 minutes to reach the top and I was spent when I got there, I took barely a photo on the way up but when I reached my wife at the car I was so excited I had actually done it! I couldn't believe I had ridden a bike up a mountain a tough mountain, with my only training being a couple of rides to St Andrews. We drove back to Healesville and had brunch.

One year later .....

My wife is still by my side (surprisingly!) and seems to back me in all the crazy ideas I have when riding or running, but a year later as I woke up early doors to take the Bianchi this time to a friends house, to meet 2 other cycling hombres. Packing bike racks and stocking the car with goodies as this time around I was representing Sommerville Sports AU. I'm in matching kit and spent the road trip to Lake Mountain talking cycling, cycling style, new routes to take and just general stupidness you could never repeat on a blog post for fear of being institutionalized.

4 Idiots and a Mountain, newest Channel 9 Sitcom flop
The sun was shining which certainly makes a difference, but as the 4 of us head up the mountain we talk where we're meeting, how quick we think we can get to the top. I have ridden with these guys before I'd say half a dozen times now on various Sommerville Sports Rides, the days menu is always the same laughs, spinning wheels and coffee all mixed with not an ounce of negativity.

A rolled up Lake Mountain 15 minutes faster than last year, this time with a buddy rolling next to me, I descended the full length of the mountain this time with 3 other riders. In one year I went from lonely rider on a cold mountain to sun burnt rider with crew of laughter. Sometimes you can over dramatize change, sometimes you can make a change that was obvious and other times you just start something without actually knowing where it will take you or how the road will pan out. Buying that Bianchi didn't save my life, but it has enhanced it way beyond what I ever thought 2 Wheels and a greasy chain ever could, and I could sit back and thank the fine companies that support me but in truth it was guy named Ivan, who lives up the street. Just a guy who likes riding bikes who asked me to come on a ride on a wet Sunday morning and I haven't stopped laughing and spinning since.

Thanks Mate

Activetri Series: Race 1 Brighton

I received some great news in the lead up to my summer of triathlon madness; and that was Physiohealth were going to back me in again for another series this time a 5 x Sprint Triathlon Series run by Solemotive (new name on the event scene) and Active Tri.

I was keen to get some longer races under my belt in the lead up to Geelong IM70; but the opportunity financially to be covered for the summer out weighted being to picky on what races I enter, I will just have to make up the kilometers on my own in training.

The lead up to Race 1 had been a little rushed, new job (marketing manager) sick baby, sick husband, lack of swimming and little in the way of runs off the bike was a concern, the shining light being a new TT Bike to let rip on the course. I have always ridden a 9 speed, yes you read correct a 9 speed, I take that sucker up hills and have raced it everywhere so changing to a TT Bike kitted out for triathlons I was interested to see the time difference.

Team Reid Photo: Not sure why they make a bald man wear a swim cap! 

Race 1 was in Brighton, and something I will enjoy about the series is that the races are spaced out across different starting points around the bay; I must admit I found the Gatorade Series to be a bit 'same same' using just Elwood & St Kilda as the bike course overlaps and doesn't offer a different challenge on the run. From the outset the morning was going well, remembered my helmet (that old mistake) and the support crew of super wife and Z-Girl were on board bright and early.

Check-in at the event finish line was easy, and there was a great vibe as people get ready for the start of the season and being a little later than normal with an 8am start was quite nice compared to 6am kick-offs last year. Still no wetsuit for the swim leg, and the water was a little fresh but conditions good, gun goes bang and we dive in the water. It was a small starting pack in my age group (30-34) and I jumped on the heels of leading swimmers pretty quickly. The fresh water, a litte more chop than Ivanhoe Leisure Center threw my stroke count out and then my Man-Flu started to restrict my breathing, in fact I was gasping! chocking, looking for more oxygen as my nose just stopped taking any in, I had a little panic - just a little one as I slowly was spat out the back of the group on first turn of the swim. I felt embarrassed, I am a strong swimmer and I felt like an idiot getting out of the water on my own (a small pack was behind me)

Getting to the transition my body felt weak already, it was a long run up the beach and then up a flight of stairs! Who puts stairs on the course? My cold had knocked me around and I used a lot of energy just to finish the swim in a quick time (under 10mins) slipping my bike shoes on, I still am yet to master the flying transition maybe for the next event. As I looked down I felt a little light headed, stuffing a gel in my pocket I got moving.

Leaping onto the bike just in time to see the support crew look in the other direction, I yelled out but they missed me, typical. The course was set with a flat start and then it slowly climbed its way to Sandringham and then turned around the downhill section perfect opportunity to pump hard and gain some time back. I got my breathing right and settle my arms into the TT Position something I still find uncomfortable.

Gaining a few positions back I started to relax, and let my legs do the talking as I pushed hard on the final lap coming into the run, I knew my legs would be shot on the run so I had to get some distance on a couple of age groupers now. Getting off the bike I felt pretty good as started off, cap on and grabbing a quick water for the final 5km. A hallmark of my triathlons is the middle of the run, I just lose time and I can't figure it out. The stats show it every time I set off good get into a good pace and then come km 3 or 4 I just slow down sometimes without knowing it and speed back up again for Km 5. This was the case again!

I put in a great 5km effort around the 22 mark, the course was a nice hard loop, but I felt a few getting me back as I got towards the finish, the small crowd made it easy to spot the Team Reid as I got towards the finish. My lungs were busted and the man-flu had almost beaten me.

The final lung buster
I finished 12th in my age group, 1:12mins. I knocked off a good 6mins from last year in the same distance and with such a poor swim and run I could have gotten closer to 1:10. Was AMAZING to have Z-Girl and the finish, full of beans with no idea I was spent, she just wanted to play with my running cap and drink all my water! I could have done just as well without them being there but it wouldn't be the same as sharing the event with my wife and Z. I'm looking forward to 5 more (I have one Gatorade Race I paid for before I got the Physiohealth help) races by the beach this year.

It was a quick dash back to the car and off to lunch; which was a shame as I wanted to to relax on the sand for a bit with the family, but a Dadathlons Life is never dull - on-wards to Nov 29th and Dec 6th Back to Back Race Weekends!