Saturday was a bit of a turning point in my cycling career. I decided to do a road bunch ride. I chose the Canberra standard bakery ride in order to introduce myself to a) bunch riding, b) and the interesting things that go along with that. Yes, it is the first time I have ever done a road bunch ride!
During the week I studied the bikely.com gps plots of the route trying to figure out where it went through Dunlop. The rest of the route was fairly straightforward as I have either driven or ridden on those particular roads (except Horse Park drive).
So at 5am on Saturday morning I woke up and hit the coffee, eggs and muffin, before leaving at 5:50 to make it to Phillip by 6:25am. When cruising through Phillip, I thought I had a flat so stopped to check. Nothing, just my imagination!
So then I just cruised down to the Bike Shed and waited with the others until someone took the reins and got it rolling. Andrew Lumley and another dude got on the front, a la squadra rider and a velo rider were in second wheel and Ben Carmody and I were in 3rd wheel. With the Australian road race championships being on, there weren't as many people there, but I reckon there was at least 60 people in the peloton.
The 2 guys at the front were driving hard and they took us down Adelaide ave, northbourne ave and all the way up the short rise of Ginninderra drive before peeling off, the next 2 guys took us all the way to the last roundabout along this particular road in Dunlop.
Ben had mentioned that due to our proximity to the front we may have to do our time on the front. Being at the lowest point of Dunlop, the portion that we had to do was full of nice little false flats, and annoying little risers. I'll keep that in mind for next time.
After we did our 12 minutes on the front, we peeled off and slotted back into the peloton for a recovery. We cruised up to Barton Highway, where I had read that the pace picked up a bit. Luckily I knew how the roads meandered through this part so could go with the flow a bit here.
We got caught at the lights prior to turning onto Horse Park drive for a little bit of recovery. Being at the front of the pack at this stage, me and another dude started the procession down this road. The paceline got pretty full on down here with some intense pace being driven down the rough chip seal of Horse Park drive.
I didn't really have any idea where they ended their efforts, whether there was a sprint or what the go was. (if anyone does know, please let me know!) I actually thought that the sprint was at the top of the climb, prior to turning right onto Federal highway. So then I am climbing the rise behind Andrew just wondering what the hell is going on, it just seems that everyone switched off!! That was probably the sprint, who knows?!
The rest of the ride was totally mellow, and by the time I got back to town I had done a nice 85km. My next trick was to head out to Condor creek and back for a nice long ride for the day. 170km and 5 hours 40 minutes after leaving at 5:50am I was back home chilling with a protein drink and eating all I could, that's always a pleasing thing.
So, would I do some more of these? You bet! The training stimuli, provided I am giving it some, is quite a different power curve than that used for mountain biking, but this will definitely help my racing in the long term. Where I think it will help immensely is in the XCO (cross country) and the XCM (marathon) races, for different reasons. I will also probably get slight assistance in the short track races also.
After doing a nice3 week build up to that 21 hour week, I am looking forward to a nice recovery week over the next 5 days. Fortune has it that it is also meant to rain this week, therefore there is no battling the elements. I reckon that is the first time I have lucked it like that!