Sunday, January 22, 2006
On Fire in Adelaide
Keeping with the cycling agenda, one would think that this would mean I am going fast...however I literally mean that I think I was ON FIRE. We were lucky enough to head over to Adelaide for what was apparently one of the worst heat waves in 3-4 years...oh yeah and we were racing in it as well! So first things first, Adelaide is an amazing city. I know that practically every place I've been in Australia I've been impressed by it and thought that I might be able to live there, but Adelaide definately takes the cake. Despite people telling us that it was a bit of a lame city (well I must admit, I didn't check out the nightlife...but honestly, it wasn't on my list of things to do), it was our favorite city by a long shot. The population comes in about that of Calgary and the city is well structured with its roads (that is quite a treat here down under). We were lucky enough to stay with friends of Alena and Ryan's (whom they met on their Feejee Experience) just outside of the downtown core - and at the foot of a rather amazing mountain. Unfortunately as I was racing I didn't get to check it out, but apparently it's some of the most amazing riding around.
The racing, on my part was a little lacklustre. Be it due to the extreme temperatures (oh right, I'm not sure I mentioned that it was 43 degrees on Saturday - 43 degrees - VERY HOT!) or to the fact that it is only January - I had 15 minutes of thunder...and then I wilted off into oblivion...essentially off the back. We competed in 3 races - on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday - each day with respective temperatures of about 38, 41, 43 - all of which were raced in the heat of the day (5:00 for the first, and 11:30 for the other two) - oh yeah and the heat didn't come down at night...it was only a balmy 30 in the wee hours of the morning and the a/c left quite a bit to be desired! So yes, started the first race - pretty much setting myself up for heatstroke as we were on our bikes for over an hour prior to the start. Not my smartest move, and I definately paid for it as I watched my heartrate rise unnaturally high and then my legs give out. I figured that perhaps my day was over when I started getting heart attack symptoms! So that was day 1 - 15 minutes in the group....kinda boring - just exploded.
Getting ready for day 2, I was determined not to make a similar mistake - so I shortened the warm-up had an entire cooler of cold liquids and took her chill. Judging from the first part of the race, I seem to have adapted quite well. As is common in Australian racing, right off the gun of this triangle criterium course (one of the sides was uphill at about a 2-3% grade) people were attacking. I had the presence of mind to make my way to the front on the hill and I sat in the top 5-6 riders (the fields were just over 40 each day) for the next couple of laps. On about lap 4, Alexis Rhodes attacked on the hill and there was a little hesitation from the group - I figured I would give it a go and I jumped on her wheel. To my surprise, we actually got clear and for the next 5-10 minutes I was in a break with Alexis Rhodes, Nat Bates, Kate Nichols and my friend from last week Leanne Manderson. It was pretty cool and it's been immortallized on cyclingnews.com in this picture http://www.cyclingnews.com/photos/2006/jan06/tdu_women06/index.php?id=tdu_women062/DSC_9369 - and also an article with my name in print at http://www.womenscycling.net/2006/EventsPages2006/TDU/Race2.htm - unfortunately, as these things go, I exploded at about the 15 minute mark (yet again) and road it in until I felt a little dizzy from the heat at which point I exited the course. An action for which I am still kicking myself, because if I had kept going, I would have been in the top 20 and in the money...never leave a course unless someone is pulling you off...I really should know that by now!
So for those of you who can read patterns - guess what happened on day 3 - the hottest of the hot. The race was aggressive, I road the first half without any issues and then imploded phenomenally at about the 15 minute mark. What can I say? The girls are fast and I was born in the cold land of Canada...it's been a good learning experience! And hey, at least I'm not the guy on the South Australia.com team for the Tour Down Under who passed out on my bicycle from the heat and crashed at 70km/h....good times!
We're now settling back down in Melbourne for the next month of hard training before the insanity begins - gonna work hard, and get fast....maybe I should start doing rides over 15 minutes long ;) hee hee - man times flys when you're having fun...I mean really, check out Chris' hat! (it was one of the ones tossed from the parade that preceeded the JCTDU - Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under) -editor note: the picture was substituted for a pic of Ryan - can't find the other one....Oh yeah and as one final aside - the girl who won the 3 race series made $10,000...I mean really life's good! I'm gonna come back here when I'm FAST! :P