I have discovered that muscle memory is a wonderful thing. Six months of training including a 3 week jaunt across the country has left me with enough in legs to actually enjoy Sunday's Momentum 94.7 cycle race.
I was pretty nervous because I knew it would hurt and I hadn't done the work required. Once week is simply not what the experts recommend. Well experts be damned. If you've got miles in your legs, you can drag them around 97 odd kms. I didn't do a sterling time but did what I hoped for and I really didn't suffer.
My ego did though as my bunch rode away from me and the leaders of the next group and the next. Then I saw the odd M batch come past too and I cringed (I started in J). Riding solo because you dare not push too hard is not ideal for road riding, especially when there is a pumping wind. It was quite weird in that my lack of training manifested in straining quads and this after I had punished them in the mountains of Sabie.
I think I should check my saddle height. I really think that must be it.
But I reckon I rode myself fit because by the time we reached the highway (of ill repute) I was having fun and was tucking in behind all the larger riders. Actually I rode in an echelon of two because nobody else realised it was a wind from the side or they don't watch the Tour de France enough. I also have the wind of St Francis Bay to thank for the practice.
But back to the race. One of the things I marvel at is the range of logistics required to pull it off. As a race organiser, I understand more of what goes on behind the scenes. I always get a thrill when I see all the straw bales and fencing lining the road on the Saturday afternoon. Sometime after midnight, when all the riders are tucked up in bed, a team of army ants swarm all over the roads, erecting the barriers and blocking off access ready for the first bunch at 5.30. And there it stays until late in the Sunday afternoon where it all magically disappears again.
Every single access road or dirt road had a marshal and straw bales or fencing. That's an awful lot of people and stuff over roughly 97km. Good on them for hanging in there for so many hours in the searing heat.
I resolved to do the race justice next year. No more narfiness. Its a great race to ride well and I just know I can knock off lots of minutes. Any volunteers to pace me?