A nice morning out spinning the legs with Sam and Tom today, covering the route I’ve been riding on a Friday. The temperature was either a little warmer than it has been, or I’m getting used to the cold. I’m finding it hard to believe how much I’ve acclimatised, because 17 degrees on Melbourne winter morning would be unreal, and would definitely not feel as chilly as it does in Darwin right now! It makes me want to right something about comparative temperatures at some point, and riding in different climates – I still remember how much the Darwin riders struggled with the dry heat of Alice Springs over Easter having come from a very humid top end.
I thought I should make the most of a day off and amazing weather by heading out for a mountain bike ride at Charles Darwin. This would be a good chance to get a good few hours in training for Alice Springs, and give me a bit of a course preview for a race there on Sunday.
I was already a bit on the tired side though, having ridden HoP in the morning (with a hang over), so spent just a little over 2 hours out. Still happy with that – good to work the legs over when they are already sore! I’m starting to get the feel of the trails there more now, and recent bush fires have opened up the visibility significantly. Not only that, the earth has been scorched, and the tracks are now very dry and dusty… just what I like. Should be a great race there on Sunday, but I’ll have to up the pace big time to keep up with the front runners.
I got home after this morning’s ride and was kinda itching to go out and do some more. The weather was amazing, the south easterly was still strong and my legs needed some more. So I geared back up, and rolled pretty gently out to Lee Point Rd.
Lee Point Rd runs pretty well north/south, so I was hoping to take advantage of the prevailing winds and knock over a segment held by Aidan. A trial run made me realise it wasn’t going to be that easy. At times the wind was assisting, but the more open areas of the 2.3km segment were getting buffed by crosswinds.
I wound it up anyway, relying on a fast start to make the most of a tail wind, and hoping I’d have enough legs for the uphill finish where I’d be most likely to make up time on Aidan. Looking down at the Edge 520, I’d made good progress coming into the open crosswinds, but dropped back by the end of it. A 7 second advantage dropped to about 3 at the start of the climb, and I was feeling pretty average.
I managed to hold on, seemingly getting nothing out of the wind up the hill, but feeling a slight push once it was crested, covering the last couple of hundred metres rapidly. KOM flashed up on the screen, with a 6 second lead over Aidan’s best, but that dropped to 3 seconds when I uploaded later (something to be aware of if you are chasing times!).
An extra 30km for the day, and more time in amazing weather was well worth getting back out for. Hopefully I’ll get back out for some Lee Point mountain bike action this arvo… plenty of segments to chase on the dirt there too.
Sending Aidan some mail
6am Nightcliff ride this morning. A reduced bunch with many away at Tenant Creek for the Barkley Challenge – good luck to the Darwin Cycling Club. I had to pull off early to get to work, but put in a decent solo effort on Vanderlin Drive coming back. Feels like I haven’t managed to make it on this ride in ages, and when I do, I can’t even finish it!
Stage race report time! I’m currently in Alice Springs for Lasseters Easter in the Alice MTB stage race. Today was a typical 90km marathon style race, and is part of the national marathon series. It was also a typical start – full gas out of the box. I didn’t muck around today and got myself into a small, fast bunch of elite riders up the pointy end of the field (I’m racing in expert male, a step below elite and comprising the bulk of the entrants).
Only a small turn out today, with four riders, but also the largest yet! Although we didn’t have everyone along for the whole route. Darwin was a chilly 17 degrees this morning…. I’d be considering that perfect in Melbourne. 30km/h winds coming off the centre of Australia has both cooled things down considerably, and made riding rather difficult at times. Darwin’s roads run predominantly north/south, east/west, but the wind tends to come in on a diagonal, so that little advantage is gained. Lucky Bat is proving to be my favourite cafe in Darwin – great coffee, just enough hipster, and it is very close to home. It’s a shame about the leaf blowers ruining what would otherwise be a quiet locale.