I have been staring at this blank page with a tittle for the last 10 minutes trying to figure out just where to start. I tell myself to start at the beginning but where is that! I guess I need to start where my last post finished so I will go and read that now.
Where Did I end my last Post
Weight loss, training for BUPA with hill climb’s, a broken rim and lots of punctures! The training had been going well as had the weight loss. The purchase of a set of Fulcrum 35mm wall Quatro wheelset fixed the broken rim but the new tubes with longer valves to suite the new rims gave me some concerns.
Concerns over New Cheap tubes from Wiggle(Lifeline 6 pack)
The first tube I used exhibited a slow leak on the first ride from a pin prick type hole. I was not sure if this was a puncture or a faulty tube. I replaced that tube with another new one which I found flat only an hour after replacing it while the bike had not left the maintenance stand. Removing that tube created the anxiety because it was obvious it had split along a fold line where it had been folded in the box. Now I was worried, so worried I went to my local bike shop and paid almost $11 each for 2 vitoria tubes to take with me on the BUPA challenge. I replaced the faulty tube with a 3rd from the economy pack from Wiggle and packed the two LBS tubes into my saddle bag. I have to say, Wiggle were fantastic and went above and beyond to compensate me for the faulty goods. I am very impressed with them. It turned out I had no issues with this third tube either on the BUPA Challenge or the two rides since.
Must Be Ready For BUPA
OK, so weight loss has gone well as I have shed over 8 kg’s, hill climb training has gone well because I have knocked minutes of several PR’s on the hills around me and finally I am organised to get to the start and have arranged to ride the entire route, with David, our son.
On the Day
With over 6,500 other participants in the 2013 BUPA Challenge I am sure my story will not be unique. The alarm went off at a quarter to four in the morning, ok, it was 3:45am but it sounded better the other way! With an hour driving time to get to the start in Modbury and the ride starting at 6:30am with a 6:20am rider briefing we needed to leave home at 5am. David had slept in the spare room overnight and we had put the bikes on the car rack and packed our equipment the night before to speed things up. Lynn still needed plenty of time to get ready and David & I needed to have a quick oats breakfast to provide a good energy basis for the ride.
We arrived a short distance away from the start a little earlier than expected at around 6am but that was fine as it gave us time to position ourselves where we thought we were supposed to start. Although the organizers had asked people to group themselves in groups based on each persons estimated average speed, ours being between 25-30 kph they then failed to use the information to any benefit. That was fair enough except they had not arranged the starting procedure to promote staged starting so it all turned out to be a waste of time.
The start was announced and some time later we started to move towards the RFID start point. When we reached to within 20 meters of the start we were finally able to straddle our bikes ready to clip in and peddle away. Movement was slow and it took what seemed like an eternity to get to start even though it was only 7 minutes! There was certainly plenty of congestion and only 50 feet after starting a rider in front of David dropped his chain causing a small pile up. No serious problems. There was plenty of congestion for the first 10 to 15 km’s as different speed groups jocky’ed for position.
David and I had discussed our plan of attack and had decided to ride to finish. We were going to stop at the food stops only and were going to fill up a bidon with Powerade to continue our ride.
We passed the first water stop without stopping. Our hills training had paid off as we were able to maintain a decent pace on the climbs. We reached Kirsbrook and decided we still did not need to stop so continued. We still have plenty of sports drink and water so there was no need. By this point we had already seen two riders down with officials in attendance and had seen a third rider go down with several other riders stopping to support them. We had seen plenty of riders having to walk up some of the steeper hills and many with their bikes upside down with flat tyres. One thing we were never short of was a long line of riders in front of us as far as we could see, no matter how far that was!
At different points we had groups go past us slowly that we were able to jump on the back of for a short rest but most of the time we traveled side by side and independent of others.
Progress Halted suddenly
About 10 km’s past Williamstown our progress came to a sudden halt. While we were in a 2 line train of bikes that was passing at around 37 kph, some slower unsteady riders, Ross, the rider in the line directly in front of me was run into by one of them. Ross’s handle bars were pushed sideways causing him to fall suddenly to the ground right in front of me. The rider causing the problem continued without concern while I piled into Ross, cartwheeling over him flinging my bike over 100 feet further down the road and David, who was close behind me was thrown over his handle bars when his bike was brought to a sudden stop by Ross and myself piled on the road. John, who was riding behind David also came to a sudden stop to complete the pile-up. Ross was unlucky enough to attract the most of the damage with the impact of one or more bikes and one or more people braking his chain stay on his carbon Merida, destroying his rear light and popping a few blood vessels in his nose. David destroyed his helmet and John destroyed a front tyre on his DeRossa R838 and maybe the wheel. My bike was amazingly lucky with the only things I could find wrong with it was a twisted shifter, easy to straighten and a distorted bottle cage. Amazing after it cartwheeled so far down the road! Injuries, well, grazes, a bit of skin of knees, hips and shoulders, gouges on an ankle or two and a couple of bleeding noses along with some sore ribs and necks was the total leaving us lucky I would say!
Ross was kind enough to become a doner to allow David to continue by loaning him his helmet, he also loaned John his front wheel as he wasn’t riding anywhere with a broken frame. I thought that was a very kind thing for him to do! While we were picking ourselves up Phil Crick came across the scene and stopped to make sure we were ok and then he decided to ride with us the rest of the way to the end. His company was indeed appreciated. Loosing 25 mins at the accident scene certainly had an impact on our arrival time in Tanunda but not as bad as we thought it might have. Our goal of 25 kph average speed for our riding time was looking good as we were sitting at 24.9 kph average when we had the accident and we had completed most of the big climbs then. We continued on and the bikes seemed to be behaving themselves with no apparent gear change problems or vibrations. We did stop at Mount Pleasant for some food and extra sunscreen before heading back on the road for the end. I can’t remember where but David was visited by cramps again although we suspect it may have been brought on by the injuries from the crash. I guess we will never really know! We pushed on to the end with David pushing against the 3rd set of cramps around Anguston but was not willing to let them stop him so close to the end.
Pushing through to the end and we finally crossed the line in 4h51m17s of riding time, an average speed of 26.6 kph, well within our target. David had suffered from leg cramps several times but had managed to push through them all but on two occasions. Although these are my details Davids are similar and can be viewed at “BUPA Tour down under – Stage 4 2013“.
- Distance ridden: 128.9 km’s
- Elevation Gained: 1,436 m
- Moving Time: 4h51m17s
- Elapsed time: 5h32m55s
- Average Temp: 22C
It was nice to meet Jolie, Renata, Heather and Lynn at the finish around about the planned time for our arrival in spite of the 24 minutes spent at the crash scene.
David and Jolie headed back the 8.9 km’s to Nuriootpa in the car while Renata and I rode back with Renata guiding us as I had no idea where to go! Renata had completed the Mount Pleasant to Tanunda segment of the BUPA Challenge ( http://app.strava.com/activities/38592239 ) at a personal best average speed of 27.3 kph. Well done Renata! Jolie also completed the same segment as Renata in at a very similar average speed which was a great effort by them both!
In spite of the crash I must say I had a very satisfying ride achieving a satisfactory pace and actually completing the ride.
How was the ride for you if you rode in it? How did you find the organisation and what did you think about the behavior of the riders around you? Feel free to comment in the reply form at the bottom of this post!
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