Saturday, September 15, 2012

Poverty Cycle 2012 Ride Report

What a day for a bike ride!  The rain held off until we'd packed up, but the wind was strong from the get-go and disrupted both the riders and the supporters.  I only rode 40k, but considerably faster than I would normally ride into such a wind. (Actually, I would change my schedule if possible.)   By the time I got home and had a long bath my body feels fine, but I have no oomph and my legs feel particularly empty.  Curiously, my most troubled body parts are my eyes and sockets - they feel very dry and windblasted.

The picture below shows the start/finish area, and should feature a line of gazebos on the far side where the supporters are clustered.  They were already up when we arrived at 7; we were fixing one at 7:30, and and 9 they were taken down after two had been written off.

Today was the Poverty Cycle, a charity ride that my work is trying to establish.  Last year we trialled a family-fun-day model, but this year went with a corporate challenge format.  Teams of 5, racing nine rider-laps of a 20km course with no more than two riders going at any one time.  Most of the course was flat, but there was a big hill about 3/4 of the way round.

My team did not win.  By the time we finished our 8th lap (4 pairs), prize-giving had already started and our final rider couldn't see the point.  Everybody had at least one lap, though.

The winning team was a bit more committed:  by 7:15am (for an 8:30 start) they were on the trainers in a stall beside the parking area and out of the wind.  They smoked everybody, averaging 35 minutes/lap.

I rode in the 2nd and 4th pairs.  First up I paired with Richard, Doesn't he look like the boss and me the working man in my coarse woollen suit?  I picked the suit up from the Sallies in Te Aroha, two weeks ago, for just $15.  Couldn't resist, and I expected that Richard would be in street clothes since he is already riding around to appointments dressed like that.

One good thing about the weather - it helped keep us cool.  I changed to my everyday road helmet for my second time round, which had much better airflow (but is boring black).

Richard was running aero bars, and kindly pulled me around the track.  He is a much stronger rider than me, probably due to commuting up a nasty hill every morning, so even leading into the wind his pace was all I could handle.  The one time I took over, in a sheltered spot, I misjudged and sapped my energy just before the big hill climb.  I actually felt better and better going up the hill, as my system caught up on itself.

The most exciting part of the ride came right at the end of the first lap.  We turned into the start/finish area, and two of those sign holders (behind us in the photo above) blew across our path!  Thankfully far enough ahead to avoid quite easily, but it did start the heart pounding.

Second time round was a bit hard at first, after eating a couple croissants and standing in the wind for ages, but the flat sections were actually easier overall.  Franck (pictured below with the person I entrusted my camera to) set a pace better matched to mine, then dropped me on the hill where I didn't have much left in my tank.  I shamelessly drafted most of the way again, as he never tucked in behind when I was leading - why do that work for somebody who doesn't appreciate it?

I'm pretty knackered tonight, but it has been a good day.  I can't see myself taking up racing, but I might give it a go again next year.  My friends chipped in $520 for anti-trafficking work in Nepal, so I'm pretty pleased about that.  Thanks to everybody who sponsored me.

Hope this blog isn't too meandering - brain fog is closing in.  Off to bed now.


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