So this weekend was the last chance I could really test my fitness before I leave for Belgium and to be honest, I have been petrified of my fitness and lack thereof so this weekend was a good test.
Starting on Friday, I joined Graham, Francis and Daniel at Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve for a 1 loop ride. We ended up doing a really really nice ride around the reserve and I felt good - matching the attacks from the guys and ending the ride feeling I could have done more. Good sign. I had dinner plans so as tempting as a 2nd lap was, I needed to get in the kitchen and cook!
Saturday's ride was also a fairly short ride (80km) with the guys but the boys were feeling fresh and we did a lot of attacking so it was by no means an easy ride!! After leaving the guys, I went and found a few more hills and then enjoyed my afternoon of chilling and just being a human. Sunday, I took the day off to chill with friends and just had fun.
Then came Monday. The big test. I joined up with a friend who occasionally rides with me (Russell) and a Club Bryton USN rider from Heidelburg (Arno) and the 3 of us set off into the hills of Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve for a 2 lap extravaganza of fun. The wind hit us and did not relent but we fought on like fierce warriors and we kept going on. My Ghost and I cruised up the hills and I felt strong. Arno and I did the extra loop and whilst on it we found a poor triathlete with gear issues so we stopped and assisted before continuing up the next hill and to where Russell was waiting for us. The next bit was rather uneventful with us passing a few others who had issues with their bikes (honestly think people were just hiding from that crazy wind). At the end of the loop I was feeling stronger than when I had when I started so after a bit of cold drink some chocolate and bottle refills, Arno and I set out on lap 2 whilst Russell loaded his bike and got ready to follow us for the lap. To make it fair on Arno who was on an mtb, I decided to slow myself down and ride a bit in the big chainring. Was kinda fun messing with my legs that way. We got over hill 1 successfully and a certain hill which scares me (where it was reported to me last year that someone was told to go down the climb to push me cause I was so slow) approached and I thought it could be fun to try see how far I could get riding in the big ring. So up I went, legs in a touch of pain but it felt good!! I got up quite easily, grabbed a coke from the car and waited for Arno but slowly we realized there was a problem and then came the news from others: he had chain issues. I saddled up and went down to find him to find my new friend walking with his chain in his hand. At the top we loaded his bike on the bike rack and Russ decided he would ride with me for a while so he got his bike off and got ready to ride. The next bit is kinda flat so we attacked each other a bit and had some fun. Fortunately the wind had also calmed down a bit so we were able to attack the downhills a bit more so that was awesome. Then came the climbing again and I decided to muck about again and just stay in the big ring. Russ rode with me for a fair bit and in fact past where I thought he would ride and eventually got in the car to be my support. I was alone. Me, my bike and my bunny.
Riding alone is like therapy and is actually really hard cause there is no excuse to ride slow. So... I kept on torturing myself. The one hill is a meanie and I plodded up, Russ and Arno came up in the car and blocked the wind for a while and I was able to focus on my climbing whilst they chirped me about being a monster and being insane. It was SORE!! So, I attacked. Kinda dumb considering I was the only one riding at that stage and I know my car is faster than my legs. But, it felt great to attack my legs. The last hill came kinda fast and I kept my mission of big ring up and kept riding. The top came and I felt GREAT. Legs felt like they could go on for a bit longer although they were sore.
Was happy with my ride and with my fitness. So, after a week and a bit of being grumpy about my riding I finally felt good again and think I am ready for my big race.
So what was the difference? Well, think my body needed a bit of tlc which I gave it last week and now it is running on all cylinders!! This week I am going to klap a bit of idt interval work to fine tune the engine and then do a nice fun climbing ride Saturday before slowly easing off to just spin the legs and get them ready for the big race. Race day in 19 days so 1 week left of hard work before the hardest work ever: rest.
Oh and we got the visas so its just Forex and packing. I can finally smell the trip.