Juz, Reidy and myself headed off at 5am, whilst the finishing touches were being made to the start line infrastructure, (at least we didn’t have to hear “Feel the Rush”, again)! As we headed along Lower NE road there were a surprisingly large number of riders heading towards Norwood. It was still dark when we got to the bottom of Anstey’s Hill. Dawn had broken through by the time I made the ascent, which marked my first time up Anstey’s. Kersbrook didn’t seem to pose too many problems either and I was feeling pretty good that I was close to Gumeracha and hadn’t spent all my energy on the first two sizeable hills.
Unfortunately at the 55km mark, my legs disagreed and the cramps started. Despite stopping at every refreshment stop and even trying the patented Peter Hill method of salty chips and a FUIC at Williamstown they continued. Ultimately the solution was to stop and rest and every hill greater than 4% saw that happen. The upside to this is that I saw most of the participants go past and managed to say g’day to Tim B, Gillian, Clive, George from GW, Andrew (Laterne Rouge), Peter Hill, Gus, CLP, Virginia, Jules Begg and I’m sure there were a few others!
It was clear by 11am that the goal of getting to the end before the pros wasn’t going to happen so just finishing at whatever time became the goal. Not doing Menglers was always an option, but it did present a great opportunity to get some further rest and get to the watch the pros in relative slow motion which was a first for me. It’s almost good to see that they hurt too! Restarting 1.5km up the hill posed its own problems, but after some minor mechanical issues the top was reached just as the KOM sign was being rolled away. By this time it was clear that what had been a stream of red jerseys ahead and behind had all but disappeared and I descended from Menglers on my own.
The little climb into Angaston just about stopped me. It was then that the SAG wagon stopped and asked how I was doing. I asked the question “Am I at the back”? The response was “No. There is ONE rider behind you.” I carried on and never enjoyed a downhill run quite as much as the downhill run into Tanunda.
They even had a roll left for me at the oval!
I was happy :-)