Sunday, 3 April 2011

Ipswich 100 - what a ride

A couple of times a year, my riding buddy and I sign up for one of the many 100km events to challenge ourselves on our bikes.

The first challenge for the two of us this year is the Ipswich 100.  Starting at the Uni of Qld Ipswich campus, we wound our way out to Rosewood, through the outer Ipswich suburbs, around Mt Walker and back into Ipswich.

Sounds relatively easy, right?  Boy were we wrong!  Ipswich is a city surrounded by hills and mountains.  What were we thinking.

Now after the Cootha Challenge, I was determined to not complain about hills again after the arduous climb over Mt Cootha.  So today's blog will not see me complaining about the ups and downs.  Every single hill on today's ride was manageable, from the short steep climbs, to the long winding uphills.  What made them unbearable at times was the cruel and constant headwind that seemed to whip around every time we changed direction.

You know it's a tough wind when you pedal down the long hills and still find yourself decelerating due to the force working against you.  Oh, and when you can smell the roo that is decomposing 2km down the road for about 5 minutes - you know it's a strong wind!!!!

Anyway, back to the riding.  Managed to finish the 100km in just over four hours (although less if you take out the time we spent at the rest stops eating watermelon, bananas and fruit buns - yes you read that right - fruit buns!!!!)

The legs did get sore and at the 50km mark, if we hadn't stopped for a rest break, I'm not sure if I'd have made it the next 50k.  Funnily, it was after the second rest stop that I realised why I had "struggled" through a particularly long stretch of rolling hills.  (At one point I even pulled over to check my tyres for air and the brakes to make sure they weren't rubbing).  So as we left the rest point, I thought I'd push it up a cog and work a bit hard through some of the flat sections.  Went to change gears and realised I'd been in the harder gear through the entire section.  Here I was wondering why I was having problems on hills that normally posed no problems, only to find out that I had 10 extra gears I could have used to get me up and over. 

While I find myself cursing my stupidity for entering these events at around the 80km mark, that feeling as you cross the finish line to the cheers of many volunteers and the sound of automatic shutters clicking on the motion-detection cameras outways every cramp, niggle and spasm.  Today I even got to finish with my bestie beside me, so the photos will be great to check out when they're published on the website (hope I smiled and didn't grimace in pain!!!)

Feeling pretty good now.  Will make sure I have a good stretch before bed tonight, and may give Zumba a miss tomorrow night, but all in all, today was a good day.

So what's next?  Cycle Qld event in September is riding from Goondiwindi to Brisbane over a 9 day period.  572km, some mountains, the Great Dividing Range, camping at the end of each day - now that's a challenge I look forward to.