One of the things I notice is the difference in the type of riding between Melbourne and Sydney. The terrain has a lot to do with it, with Sydney being somewhat hilly with numerous 100m steep hills so it is relatively easy to get 1000m of vertical in a 50k ride. Due to the hills you also get used to putting short power efforts in. These are required to stay at the front of any packs and then you learn to recover on the downhills and along the flat.
Melbourne is very different. Especially around the beach road area between Port Melboune and Frankston. There would be lucky to be 50m of vertical climbing in that 50km. There are also huge packs of cyclists out every morning and seeing 3 or 4 packs of 100 riders in each group is not uncommon. It is a far sight from when I used to ride beach rd, 30 years ago. Back then of you saw another cyclist going the other way, it was so rare, you waved at each other! Back then the big ride of the week was the famous "hell ride" leaving Black Rock clock tower at 7am sharp and doing a very fast and Dangerous loop through Mt Eliza shops and back on a Saturday morning. I remember one Steve Swart in his Motorola kit sitting on the front the whole way one time with 100 guys strung out behind him and no one could come past. He went up Oliver's hill at 35k an hour, still sitting, and in the big ring!! It didn't surprise me when he got done for drug use a little later on!!
The Melbourne boys know how to motor along. You need top end speed and a knowledge of how to ride (or hide) into the wind. Plenty of strong boys were out last Tuesday morning and I realised I needed to work on the speed aspect. I had plenty of endurance, but struggled in the sharp kick area. Still I hung in and even managed to pull a few turns. It is great riding and very fast. Maybe tomorrow i will be a bit better if this rain stops and I can give it another go??
Training for Cape Epic is starting to build!!!