26 July 2009

Learning Curve

Had our inaugural Club Twilight 3 Hour race last night. While I rode, and generally did ok, oh my God did I make some rookie mistakes.

To start with, an overabundance of (cheap) red wine on Friday night meant that I was packing my race bag while looking through the bottom of a wine glass. While I didn't forget anything (I think), not being my usual organised self when packing meant heading off to work Sat morning (I was heading directly from work to the race) with a vaguely uneasy feeling of having forgotten important items.

Then - as I pulled the bike out of the shed Sat morning, I noticed that the bottom bracket was feeling a little tight. Previously it has seized (after the Mt Hotham / East Kiewa River ride), and it was massaged back into shape, but after the slopfest and subsequent cleaning at Forrest, it wasn't well. So I managed to get 1/2 hour free at work to replace the BB. At the same time I checked chain stretch, being somewhere between 0.75 and 1%, I took the opportunity to replace the chain at the same time.

What I didn't do was run the gears and give them a tweak. Accordingly - it could be the new chain, or a slightly different chain line with the new BB - gears were skipping under load, and on a course with numerous short pinchy climbs, this is not a great thing.

I managed to spend most of Sat sucking on a bidon of water, in a vain attempt to rehydrate from the red wine, and get ahead of the curve for the race. Sort of worked. I also intended to eat a decent lunch, but with a relatively busy day at the shop, this was harder than first thought.

Note to self - if you ever want to absolutely, positively gaurantee that you will be flat out busy at work, just arrange to leave 1/2 hour early. I wanted to be gone by 2.30, at 2.25 we had a shop full of people and there was no way I was going anywhere. The blood pressure started to mount, and I was getting more and more flustered, and then managed to get out the door just before 3pm. Being flustered, hung over and tetchy just before a race is not ideal race preparation.

And then, I had also decided it would be an ideal time to change gels to a new brand. Smashing idea just before a race. Luckily they actually worked out pretty well.

So I was not off to a good start. The first couple of laps were a bit rubbish, no stretching or warming up, just decided to take the first lap easy to ease in a bit. Again, not recommended.

As I warmed up, it got better. I tried some bush mechanics while on the fly to get the gears sorted, unfortunately this didn't work too well. So I nursed the bike through, ok without being exceptional.

No idea where I finished, or even how many laps I did. But in the 3 hours I ended up with just under 45km. With a AveHR at 163 and MaxHR at 181, I don't think I was really slouching much either.

Just need to be better prepared in future.


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