Monday, 30 October 2017

Ride Daylesford 2017 - Breaking the comfort barrier

On the 28th October 2017, I participated in the inaugural Ride Daylesford. I entered in the 146km event, using it as a training day for Giro della Donna and this weekend's Bright training camp.

A day or two prior to the event, I started to get nervous. My previous long ride was about 100km with about 1000m of climbing and prior to that, most of the 100km rides were relatively flat (Beach road with LOC). The magnitude of this event started to surface, it is 146km, 50% more distance than my previous session and 800m more in climbing...

I arrived in Dalyesford on Friday afternoon and picked up my registration (bike and helmet stickers) along with the shit cheap event jersey. A friend from work showed me how his zipper broke when he tried it on and the same thing happened to me when I tried on the jersey back at the house. I had never had the intentions of wearing the jersey - I refuse to wear something which I have not worn before. The jersey fabric and construction was terrible and the fit even worse. Such a waste of money. I would have happily chosen to put that money towards a charity than to get a jersey made. I understand the policy of the jersey - so they could recognise who was part of the event but we were also decorated with helmet and bike stickers, it is not like they would refuse to help us if we were in trouble or refuse me to access the water at the aid stations?

On the 28th morning, I left the accommodation at 7:00am thinking that it would take me forever to ride to the start (there was a 8% climb). I ended up getting there around 7:10am and had a toilet break and spoke to a few familiar faces. I seeded myself at the 20km/h area. The ride started off being manageable. I am a lot more confident at the descents compared to where I was 12 months ago and I ended up passing many after they passed me on the climbs.

There were a few false flats and rolling hills but as I was riding by myself, I just rode at my own pace and didn't follow any groups as I knew that I was not as strong as the guys. I planned to be self sufficient on the bike and carried enough food for 10 hours and carried 2 bottles of hydration. By the guide, I knew that I wouldn't need to stop at the first aid station so I skipped it in Kyneton. I saw plenty of people who stopped so I knew that they would eventually pass me along the way.

Two of my work colleagues rode passed me and said hello so I ended up riding with them for about 15km until there was a slight climb and I couldn't manage it without being fatigued. I ended up leading a group for the next 15km until the aid station where I pulled in to fill up my empty drink bottle.

The next few km were uneventful, all I was doing was turning my legs. There was a small stretch of the road where the climb was around 15% and that's where the first of the many climbs where some hopped off their bikes. I made a promise to myself that I would not hop off the bike during this ride so I pushed myself as hard as I could, even when the speed is around 5km/hr and my cadence was as low as 30rpm.

Around the 100km mark, I really started to struggle. My arms, hands and feet were swollen and hurt and my mind started to let me down. At this point, I got out my earphones and started to listen to my audiobook to help me through.

The last 20km of the ride was really hard. There were climbs where the gradients were 10%+. Mentally, I was so tired. Physically, my body changed so much from the start of the ride with swollen limbs and bloated belly. Luckily there was an aid station around Hephburn Springs where I could catch a breath before the final climb from Hephburn Spring to Daylesford.

The final climb into the event village was a relief. I knew that I would finish the event close to 3pm but I had not prepared for how uncomfortable I would be. I have to admit that I haven't done anything this intense since I did my long rides leading up to 3 peaks (Feb 2016).

Here are a few comments regarding the event from my point of view:
  • I might have to see if I need to increase the calorie intake for big rides like this. For Ride Daylesford, I ate 100cal/hour.
  • I need to see what I can do about the swollen limbs. From what I have read online, it comes from too much salt and I did use Hydralyte throughout the ride so I could help with the cramping. The other reason for the swollen limbs is being dehydrated too as it is your body's way of storing fluids.
  • As I am buying new cycling shoes, I will need to keep it with the Boa laces so I can release loosen the shoes when my feet swell. 

For Giro della Donna, it is 125km with 2800m of climbing so I will need to do more climbing training. I know I will not be as bike fit as 2015 as I now weigh 10kg more but I am confident that my descending has improved.

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