What a blur the last few weeks has been. What with the move, trying to get settled in the new place, getting sent out into the field for work (supporting our planned burn program), and a trip to Canberra over the Easter weekend.
I got home from work tonight, sat down, and tried to work out what to do. It was an odd feeling - I *know* stuff has to be done, but I don't quite know where to start. So I didn't.
Anyway - Canberra on the weekend was a hoot. I travelled up with two good mates, Flick and Dave (I work with both of them). Flick has been training her arse off, and had entered herself in the National 24hr Solo Champs. Dave and I went up as Pit Crew Extraordinare (hereon in known as the Pit Bitches).
Flick was super keen to have a solid crack at an overall win, and had done everything in her power to be physically and mentally ready. So the pressure was on Dave and I to provide an appropriate level of support to achieve that goal.
I won't go into a detailed post just yet - maybe down the track - but in brief, the plan was to ride to heart rate (70%) for the first 12 hours, and then assess position and make a call from there. Food and hydration plan was laid out and we had to stick to the plan.
First 12 hours went really well - Flick deliberately didn't got out hard and chase the lead bunch, more taking the chance that they would blow and drift back to her. Come midnight, we started to give her time splits to the next rider up the road and give her a rabbit to chase. This was all well and good, but at this point the heat got turned up a little at the front, and Flick was actually losing time to them. So rather than demoralise her, we stopped with the time splits and just kept her circulating.
By 6am the damage was out to around 1/2hr, and we pulled Flick in for a change of clothes, good feed, and a bike change. This did her the world of good, as did the double espresso with 3 sugars. We sent her out on her hardtail for a lap to give me a chance to clean and service her dually (#1 race bike).
Once back on the dually, she was flying. After doing 55 ish min laps all night, her first lap back was a 48min - and to top that off, the lead riders were dropping back. Flick was picking up 8 minutes a lap on the lead bunch. After a quick calculation, we worked out that if she could keep that pace, she would run down the lead bunch on the final lap and be in the running for a podium.
And run them down she did, catching third place on the final lap (3rd place had completely blown by this point, Flick put 20 minutes into her in a single lap) and scoring a podium place - an exceptionally hard earned one.
It may have been the lack of sleep, but this was one of the most seriously good bits of cycling I had ever seen - in my mind this was even rivalling watching Cadel up Alpe du Huez last year - Flick just loaded up the diesel engine and let rip.
What a weekend and what a privelige to be part of such a hard fought podium.