40km bike hit out

Cleveland Point - half way through the ride

I had an easy day yesterday. I was tired so I slept in before work then mowed our lawn, and weeded and pruned our front garden after work instead of training. Mowing takes about an hour and then there was another hour of pruning and weeding to do afterwards so I wasn’t totally slack. It was good to have some balance for a day to catch up on home chores.

As for the sleep-in, I am volunteering as a technical official at the Goondiwindi Hell of the West this coming weekend. It’s a 2/80/20 triathlon and transition will be opening at 3:30am. This means I will need to be onsite by 3:15am at the latest. It’s going to be a long day out on my feet with the last competitor expected to finish sometime in the early afternoon. While it’s not possible to bank sleep, I know it’s important not to turn up tired on the day so I am preparing my body with enough sleep this week.

This morning I wake up early feeling fresh and ready to cycle. It’s sunny outside so I want to make the most of the opportunity to get in a 40km road ride. My first Olympic Distance race (Kingscliff) is only two weeks away and I’m a little nervous about my lack of bike preparation.

I ride out my driveway at 5:30am. My legs feel a bit iffy as I head out on the main road sitting up on my brake hoods. Anxiety fills me as I struggle to pick up speed in the first few kilometres of the ride. I’m putting pressure on myself, constantly watching the speed on my GPS and trying to push faster. I realise this could be a miserable ride if I keep going like this – and I don’t want to have a miserable ride.

I turn left onto Redland Bay Road and decide to switch my GPS to map mode. This means my speed is hidden from view so I can’t obsess about it. I settle into a good rhythm with my body dropped low onto the tri bars. Suddenly things feel much better – the road surface is smooth, the traffic light and the sun is shining. What more could I want.

As I relax my legs remember how to turn the pedals and I find myself able to focus on my rhythm and breathing. There are many hills between my home and Cleveland, which is my destination. I attack each by standing out of the saddle and focusing on the point beyond the crest where the road drops away. It feels good to ride hard. The surprise comes at Cleveland when I realise my average speed for the first 20km of my ride is 30.7kph. That’s fast for me, especially when I’m using my training wheels which have a mountain bike sprocket on them.

From Cleveland I decide to keep my pace up all the way home. I usually slow down after 20km in training but with a 40km bike in my next triathlon I think it’s important to have a solid hit out. I get home to see that I have actually done a negative split, coming in with a total average speed of 31.5kph. I know it would have been faster had I had my race wheels on and that gives me confidence heading into the Kingscliff race on 19 February.

I’m going to pay for the hard ride tonight though at my 2 hour parkour class.

Total: 40km @ 31.5kph.

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