|38 days till we roll down the start chute again!!|
With 7 weeks to go till the start of the Epic, and a very solid base build up, it was time to have a couple of less intense weeks before the final build up training block of 4 weeks then the final week to travel/taper.
Everything was going to plan. I was hitting my thresholds and was pretty pleased with my progress. Slowly I was building my strength, speed and endurance and it felt like I was having a better build up than the 2012 race. Buzz was also flying and he in many ways is the stronger rider of us. I can still get him on the long climbs, but in all other areas he is next to or in front of me!!
What could go wrong?
Buzz sent me a text last Monday after work. “Hot lap of the dam this evening??” With Daylight savings making it light till 8.30pm, and with a new 2014 Specialized Epic sitting in the bike shed, why not I thought!
We took off pretty easily chatting casually about all the little things we need to do. However the talk soon stopped as the pace started to pick up. I thought to myself, “when he said hot lap, he meant it!”. Soon we were at full tilt. Buzz, being better on the technical stuff than me was starting to pull away. A second here, a second there, started to add up. I missed the little double step up the rocks and lost a few seconds as I had to unclip to get up. That’s all he needed….He was gone. I started to chase hard, knowing he also would have his nose on the stem! A review of our strava’s later saw that at the half way mark he was 17 secs ahead of me. I felt like I couldn’t get any speed. For most of the dam circuit, 17 seconds is out of sight. That makes it hard as the chaser. Is is also why in many bike races, you see the lead break hugging the side of the road. The psychological advantage of not being seen by the chasers is significant.
We hit the downhill section. With no rain in Sydney, and hundred's of bikes doing this circuit each week, the ruts and loose rocks were everywhere. I was pushing hard, knowing Buzz would be putting time into me here. I started to think I was going a bit quick for the loose drop offs that were coming up. A momentary lapse in concentration saw me take the wrong line and the next thing I know I was doing a superman over the front bars, hitting the ground hard on my left shoulder. Bang, “that hurt” I thought. I got up and knew I had done a rib. It took me a couple of minutes to get going again,(very slowly and gingerly). A subsequent xray later showed 2 cracked ribs and torn cartilage between the ribs. Six to Eight weeks the doc said. I was back on the bike in 5 days. The pain was pretty intense, but I cant afford too much time off. Day 6, I managed to get 50k in on the road, and although very painful, I can still ride on the road. The mtb will take a couple more weeks. The bike was ok except a faulty front shifter, no cracks or scratches.
It doesn’t take much for all this to come undone!