One of the early segments I worked towards topping runs from Chandler Highway, along the boulevard, and to the top of Yarra Street. I’d sum it up as an undulating time trial, followed by a short steep pinch – just when you think the pain is done, you cop a kick in the guts whilst you’re on the ground.
I think I stumbled upon the segment by accident one ride, and proceeded to slowly chip away at my time. On October 30th, I was fairly close, but didn’t feel warmed up enough and faced a predominant head wind. The following day a northerly was considerably more favourable, so i went out to have another crack after a bit of a warm up.
I didn’t have a power meter at the time, but I was keeping an eye on the live segment on the Garmin screen. Taking it relatively easy up the first climb (by relatively easy, I mean the fastest I’d ever ridden up there), holding over 40km/h up that 3%. I was feeling great, and didn’t notice my heart rate getting up to 185bpm – a sure sign everything was firing, but I wasn’t going to blow up.
I’d gained a 6 second lead, but was well aware of the fact I would need to maintain a good speed on all the downhill segments. And I did loose some time on that first downhill, and on the next uphill – not exactly a confidence boost, but I was still on par for my best time, so I kept hammering away. Brilliant, because as I rounded Cornering Speed Test, things got substantially easier!
Thus far, the northerly had been giving me next to nothing, but after that corner I could feel a noticeable difference in wind direction, and could suddenly hold a lead with less effort. I was convinced that I could take this one, and at that moment decided to save my legs for Yarra Street. It was a winning move.
The whole segment is really easy to blow yourself up on – go to hard early, and you could find yourself hitting lactate half way up Yarra Street (or earlier). Take it too easy, and you will need to fly up that final pinch. This time, my effort was measured perfectly, and I was able to maintain something of a sprint to the final corner, almost hitting my maximum heart rate. All over in 5:56s and the KOM in the bag with 8 seconds to spare.
I haven’t ridden that exact segment since, and am definitely expecting to receive an email notification of someone getting a better time. But I’d love to try and better my PB if the opportunity arises.
Average Speed – 37km/h
Max Speed – 51.1km/h
Min Speed – 15.1km/h (I don’t normally list this, but wanted to give an indication of what it’s like to hit Yarra St!)
Average Heart Rate: 177bpm
Max Heart Rate: 188bpm