Climb every mountain…


Today’s picture is brought to you by Mt Mee, which is a nice big hill north of Brisbane. I originally had planned to do this ride with some of my Koiled teammates, however our plans got waylaid with rain. This week I managed to pick up a fine head cold and wasn’t sure how I would be, so for this effort I opted to go it alone.

I rolled out of the local supermarket car park at an ungodly hour and headed north. I had mapped the route before I left and the first thirty kilometres were fairly flat, perfect for a good warm up. I managed to tack onto a bunch of guys riding north. We motored along at a good clip and I made a mental note to remember how good group rides are when you can sit on a wheel! You can enjoy the draft effect you receive from being behind someone else and sometimes it can make you feel like your average speed is close to being in a Tour de France training camp – kidding!

However, it was sweet sorrow parting with these lads – it was onto the rude shock of taking on the Petrie rollers again, all the way to Dayboro. Now there’s one thing to remember about the roads in and out of Dayboro – they’re what’s referred to in cycling terms as “dead”, meaning that they seem to suck the living energy out of your pace due to the actual road surface. The smallest climbs had me in my smallest gear, wondering how the heck I was going to conquer Mt Mee when it finally appeared?

I was able to take a small short cut towards the great hill along Fingerboard Rd. It was there I decided to take on my first riding snack and for the first and last time ever, I consumed a sports gel. The sweetness and smell was such that it reminded me of taking that test which screens for gestational diabetes. Hoping that it would give me the get up and go I needed for the climb, I set off. Mt Mee is a steady 7km ascent and I tried to keep in mind all of the tenets of successful climbing – core engaged, weight towards the back of the saddle, relaxed upper body. I focused on coaxing my lazy hamstring to help out. Three kilometres up, it started to cramp. I had no choice but to pull over to the side of the road, fantasising about being as quick as the team of Campos boys that passed me. Wondering whether it would be appropriate to cry, laugh or start again, I took option three.

It was worth it. I was rewarded with a lovely view from the top, although my picture doesn’t do it justice! The seven kilometre descent into Dayboro was great fun and as it had been raining, I decided not to break any speed records. My descending has changed since the hamstring surgery – and I find getting low in the saddle and shoving my weight back difficult as my range of movement still is limited. I have hope that this will come right in the long run.

The next order of the day was a stop at the Dayboro bakery, refilling my bidons, and chowing down on my second ride feeding, a vegemite scroll. Definitely “on point” as my little Lucys would say. I decided to eat half and save the rest for my next feeding. Again, all roads leading out of Dayboro are “dead” and the twenty kilometre trip down the road to Samford seemed impossible. My legs were tired, my knees were aching and I wondered how Mr Lucy would feel if I called him to come and pick me up. Allowing myself to indulge in that thought for a split second, I counselled myself into pedalling my way there as easily as possible, even if that meant being a little slow. Dividing the trek into quarters, I silently gave myself a little high five with each five kilometre stretch.

Coming into Samford, I passed a hapless rider who had broken down. He told me that he had a car coming to pick him up and I silently wondered whether he had room for one more? Quickly quashing that thought, I pulled out my squashed, but still delicious scroll and consumed it as I worked my way up the Samford range. I have always enjoyed the Samford range, and the descent down the other side is pure fun.

However, there was still, what I coined, “my biatch” to conquer – Settlement Road. I have always hated the climb and it took every bit of mental ticker to get the job done. Finally, another rest stop at the Gap Puma Servo, where a Frosty Fruit ice block was consumed. Seriously, who’d chomp on gels when you can find these treasures?

Finally after 124km of solid riding, I was back to base. As soon as I was home, it was in the pool to sip on imaginary pina coladas, then refuel for appropriate recovery.

To sum up, today’s ride was one of the hardest I’ve done and what I learned is that you cannot underestimate the effects of accidents and subsequent surgery. It is hard, both mentally and physically, especially when you’re used to being so much better. However, you just need to celebrate the now and I am chalking up this one as a win.

Positives of the day:

– this week I completed over 300km on the bike, my biggest week since my surgery.
– my hydration strategy was good. I’m not great at drinking on the bike but knocked off six bidons and was not too dehydrated when I got home
– nutrition wise – did well – followed dietitian’s recommendations for long rides and had a big lunch and will not eat again until dinner (as per Georgie’s Lean Habits)
– I kept going and did not give in, even though the feelings to do so were quite strong.
– I’m going to have an afternoon nap (TBC) lol!

Hope your weekend has been full of adventure too!

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