I did something a little crazy on Sunday... something that not too long ago, I would never have imagined doing.
I rode a 130k time trial around the Nundah Criterium track.
For those of you that don't know, the crit track is only 1.2ks long. So that's 108 laps.
Yeah. It sounds kinda nuts when you say it like that.
I'll admit that this feat wasn't planned in advance, though the idea had been kicking around since I did the hour time trial with the Coyotes a couple of months back. I'd wondered, fleetingly, whether I had it in me to do some of the other crazy things they do.
The one that fascinated me most was their semi-regular 100k time trial at Nundah.
There isn't much to look at at the crit track. It's just a bitumen track. There's a shelter shed with some picnic tables under it, a toilet block, a few trees and bushes, and if you're really lucky, a venomous snake or two.
How on earth could you ride around it 83 times and stay sane?
But on Saturday night, when planning a more scenic ride became a bit too hard, I turned to KKB and said, "maybe tomorrow's the day I ride that 100k time trial at Nundah."
Without anything better to do, and having put it out there to KKB, it felt like a done deal. I set a goal of riding for 5 hours or 125ks, whichever happened first.
Secretly, I was hoping they would happen around the same time, giving me a 25kph average. But the way things had been going lately I was hesitant to set a pace goal - it was just about getting through it. Certainly, there was no way I was doing the maths on how many laps I had in front of me.
Now that would be nuts.
I arrived at the track just after 6.30 on Sunday morning and was lucky to get a park. Several cyclists were gathering for a ride, and a few more cyclists in Gap Cycling kit were milling around. I surveyed the track and there were just a couple of cyclists already at it. Then another Gap Cycles cyclist jumped out of his ute with a stack of witches hats. All of a sudden, my lack of planing looked like it might bite me.
When I asked the witches hat guy whether he had an event on, he explained that the cycling club had booked the track for time trials. I expressed my disappointment, politely, an started thinking about what my plan B might look like, but he was super nice about it and encouraged me to stay and stick to the outside of the track.
I told him if I got in the way to let me know and I'd make other arrangements. He assured me that the speedier guys particularly would be more than happy to tell me if I got in the way... I knew that would be true!
So, I put my spare drinks in the shelter shed, did my final preparations and got out there.
I kind of can't believe that I'm writing this, but the first couple of hours passed by fairly quickly. With the Gap boys there I had company of sorts. There was also another sole rider going around - a female cyclist who appeared to be doing a similar sort of session as me. She stopped at one point and had a banana, and had a sandwich on another break. I thought for sure she was a fellow Ironman and looked forward to riding with her for the hours I still had ahead of me.
I had my first break at two hours, just after most of the Gap guys left. Just one fellow remained when I pulled up in front of he shed. We swapped Ironman war stories. His only one was in terrible conditions in South Africa - he was telling me that all the aid stations packed up the wind was so bad, so his last 10ks was without water, in howling wind...
"And lonely?" I offered.
"Yes, it was lonely," he admitted.
So far, my pace was on target, but anything could happen in the next three hours. As I pulled back out onto the track I decided to make my next drink stop the 3.5 hour mark. At this stage I was thinking it would take everything to get there. The track had quietened down now and there was so much less to look at. I started looking more regularly at my Garmin but soon gave up on that - the kilometres and laps seemed to tick over oh so slowly...
Then, I think something magical may have happened. I think I got into 'the zone'...
I must have had some kind of thought pattern going on, but I can't remember for the life of me what went through my head for the next hour and a half. There were some kids on the track that I made conscious effort not to run over. And I watched helplessly as my Ironman buddy packed up her gear and left.
But before I knew it I was out of water and it was time to stop and swap over my water bottles again.
As I pulled to a stop I was elated to see that my average had crept up a little. Then when I got going again I wondered whether I could maintain it or whether everything was about to fall into a pile of poo...
I found my magic zone again, and kept my focus on keeping my cadence smooth and constant. I was rewarded with my average continuing to climb... ever so slowly.
I finished the five hours with 130ks on the clock, a 25.9 kph average, and a renewed confidence that if I can get through this, then maybe, just maybe, I can get through Roth.
I still think the whole idea of riding around the Nundah crit track 108 times sounds a little nuts though.