Monday, 12 October 2015

Around the Bay - 210km Anti Clockwise.

So yesterday I completed my first Around the Bay event! One at which I entered and actually participated. 

I signed up for the 210km Anti clockwise which takes you from the city towards Geelong, then Queenscliff, catching the ferry to Sorrento and then back to Melbourne. Our wave started at 5:30 and I got out of bed at 3:30am so I could leave the house at 4am. I wasn’t sure what the traffic was like to get into the city and to find parking but I ended up getting to the Arts Centre around 4:40pm with plenty of time to find (free) parking outside the Arts Centre.

I had plans on meeting my cycling friend Dale outside the Arts Centre at 5:10am so we can ride to the start which was around 500m away. We ended up getting to the startline around 5:15am and just sat around waiting for the waves to start.

I think we ended up leaving the Start line around 5:35am as we waited for the lights. The ride along City Rd down through Southbank and Port Melbourne took a while and this was the same situation on the way back from St Kilda all the way to the finish. Due to congestion and traffic lights, we couldn’t really move anywhere fast and had to constantly clip in and on and clip out and off our bikes. On the way out along the West Gate, the congestion started to spread out as people rode up and along the West Gate. Luckily it was still dark and I couldn’t see too much over the bridge as that would have set off some anxiety especially cycling over water at height. Riding along the highway into Geelong was interesting. The roads were not great along some parts. I copped a flat tyre around the mid way point along the highway – an industrial staple went into my back tyre. The tyre change took longer than usual as the bike (and tyres) were only 3 weeks old. I hadn’t taken the wheel off a bike with disc brakes before especially the back with the derailleur but it proved to be easier than expected.

The wind started to pick up along the freeway but luckily we could conserve some energy when we found groups who were travelling at our speed. Out first stop was actually at an unofficial Bicycle Network stop where we had a bathroom break. Our second stop was about 20km out of Queenscliff where Dale could apply sunscreen and I filled up one of my drink bottles. From that point into Queenscliff was a bit of a “head down and pedal” moment and we just got the job done. We arrived into Queenscliff around 10:30am which was a good time. We arrived in time to collect blue stickers which meant that we were on the 11:30am ferry. I collected my vegetarian lunch  pack and ate half of my sandwich and most of my banana cake. I stood in line to fill up my other drink bottle before we boarded the ferry around 11:15am. We found a few spaces up the front of the ferry where we could place our bike along the side without being caged in by dozens of bikes and we had plenty of space to sit down and rest.

Dale and I on the ferry
  I think we got into Sorrento after 12pm and from there we just got into a rhythm and just pedalled at a great pace that we had half a dozen people following us and were disappointed when we stopped to fill up our bottles. After this stop, it was then onto Nepean Hwy through the Briars with a bit of a climb and a small descent where my max speed of 52km/h was achieved (Dale hit > 60km/hr). The temp started to hover around 27 at this point and a few people pulled over to get some shade for a bit. I stopped at one point to check the pressure of my back tyre as I thought I had a slow leak from before.

We grabbed a coke and filled up our hydration at Frankson BP instead of stopping at the official rest stop as we wanted to grab a coke and cold drinks. This was one of the best decisions as the rest of the ride felt easy and we were smiling and were going great. We stopped again at Mordialloc for another coke to get us home over the last 30km. Once we got into St Kilda, the congestion was noticeable. We started to slow down for traffic and for other riders. The ride through Port Melbourne and Southbank was even worse where we copped every single traffic light before we rode into Alexandra Gardens. I think we finished around 4pm that day.

Coke - getting people through long ass events since forever
I felt great at the end of the day and I think due to the coke still throbbing through the blood stream, exhaustion hadn’t set in yet. A few happy snaps were taken and then we rode back to my car where we waited for Stace (Dale’s partner) to arrive to drive Dale and her bike home.


My official time for the event:
Overall Time (including lunch and ferry ride) = 10h59:55
Ride Time (inc rest stops) = 9h27:25
Bum on saddle time (according to my Garmin) = 8h28:57

This is officially my longest ride to date, only having done two 180km rides before ATB for Ironman Melbourne and my training rides being around 160km prior.

A few comments/lessons learnt:
  • Nutrition was pretty good and I made myself consume some carbs (sugars) every 30min.
  • Coke – this is what gets me through. Need to see how I can incorporate it as part of 3 Peaks – is this cheating? I may have to think of ways of cooking the coke down to a concentrate and make it into a gel/jelly form.
  • I absolutely love my Garmin 520.
  • I kept hydrated by drinking every 15min and made myself pee twice during the event.
  • Once my barfly mount arrives, I will need to lower my saddle a few mm. I am finding myself pointing my toes still when I am riding. My heels are really straining now being overstretched.
  • Sunscreen on my face so I don’t have the sunglasses look on my face.

What’s next for Around the Bay? Here are a few thoughts:
  • I will not enter the 210km Anti Clockwise again – the one I just did was perfect and had Dale to help me push through.
  • I will not enter the 210km Clockwise because the ride back into Melbourne from Geelong is boring dead-town.
  • I may look at the 210km Sorrento return but will decide next year depending on what I am doing. The time for the ride will be different due to no lunch/ferry time. I am sure that I will be finishing the event well before 4pm.  

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