If you haven’t read part one of this story then I would advise you to go back and read it before you start this one…
And the first few cyclists were off. I was at the back though, so it was a good 20 seconds before I was actually off.
It was a cagey affair at first, we were all respectful of each others bicycles so it took a while before we could really showcase our talents on the big stage.
After about 2 minutes I decide to take matters into my own hands. I started to squeeze into small gaps, accelerate through the downhills and keep a high intensity through the uphill. I must have pased around 50 people in that early stage.
The next stage featured an uphill that I think took most of us off guard. It looked simple enough but the hill would just not end. Many cyclists actually stopped, got off their bicycles and started walking uphill. It was rather scary because this was just the beginning!
It was quite discouraing to see so many cyclists pushing their bike uphill and I started to think I wouldn’t make it. Honestly I started to think I wouldn’t even finish the race.
Towards the end of the hill however, I changed to the lowest gear and pushed myself to the top. I made it! And I didn’t have to walk, which was great for my ego.
After lowering my intensity and keeping a steady pace I felt as if I couldn’t breathe. I wasn’t sure how much energy I would have after that hill climb.
For the next few minutes I kept a relaxed pace, trying to get some oxygen back. It was then where I actually got to see some of the wind turbines.
I was proably about 10 metres away from one at some point. Don’t think I have ever been so close to one as I was then. I was so surprised that I didn’t even hear a single noise from one of them(or maybe I was just too focused on the race).
By this time my energy came back and I was ready to push on. I had an intensity of about 90% and I felt good, I didn’t feel that I was pushing myself to the point of exhaustion, I just felt I was at the perfect speed. I also passed quite a few more cyclists which is what I strive for, just kidding.
By now most of the hard climbs were over and the rest was, pun-intended, downhill. I started to pick up ridiculous speeds. I passed a lot more cyclists but now came a big problem.
The track narrowed down to just one lane. This was a problen because a cyclist in front of me was not as fast as I was but I couldn’t overtake him. I didn’t know his name but it said “you’re future begins here” so I’m assuming that was his name.
So for about 30% of the race I was behind you’re future begins here. Don’t get me wrong we were still going fast and I enjoyed the twists and turns while marvelling at the beautiful scenery before me. I just wish I could pass him.
Eventually after the lane returned to a road I found my gap and I overtook him. I let him know he did a great job and sped onwards. By then I knew exactly where I was and I knew exactly where the race goes from here…or did I?
I did not.
I thought it was straght ahead till we get to the gravel road, turn left, go up that hill and the finish line should be there in about a km.
In fact we were still quite a way from the finish and there were more uphills to come.
That was actually a time where I was able to pass a lot more cyclists and I was also surprised to see how much energy I had left.
The hills kept coming but I kept pushing. It was getting frustrated because I could see the finish but there was still lots of curves before getting there.
I reached the end to my relief and just before the last turn I saw an old man overtake me, how cheeky. We both then turned for the last corner and finished in style with a decent time of 65 minutes.
I was honestly very happy and surprised with how well I did. I finished the race and I also had a great time, I never felt that I was getting tired (except when I could barely breathe after the very first uphill). I kept pushing to the pace I wanted to and it never felt too much.
I spoke to the old man after the race and he told me I needed to raise my seat a bit higher because I would get a lot more speed and it would’ve made a huge difference.
So taking that into account and starting a lot closer to the front my time could have been totally different, but I am nonetheless glad with my position of finishing 16th and I feel so confident that I would not only come again next year but actually go for the 85km because then I will really be tested.
Thanks for reading and I hope you go and join an event such as this, whether it is running, cycling, swimming or all of them or whatever it may be…go and push yourself to do it. If you don’t want to go alone invite a friend but go and do it!