Nick's Training Diary - 160 km Around the Bay
11 February, 2020
For the everyday bicycle commuter or the more experienced rider, a 160 km is definitely achievable and a great way to test your legs over a longer distance.
Week 1 - 1st August to 7th August
This feels amazing!
I’m in love with my Vantage Endurance 2.0. I sometimes go up and down my street just to enjoy the feeling of it on the road. In my enthusiasm to use the bike I cycled to the supermarket, only to realise upon exiting that I had no way to get the groceries home - no basket and there were a few too many bags to hook it all on the handlebars. Oops!
The shame here is that work is quite close to home, so I don’t get to do a decent distance each morning to get there. I may have to investigate a detour in order to get some more miles up.
I went for a ride in the local area and ventured east through Toorak and Malvern. I’ve learnt that Glenferrie road is seemingly one of the steepest places on earth, but damn it feels good to reach the top of that hill! There is something exhilarating about pushing yourself through the tough legs of a ride which gives you a new energy to push further. I really hope this is the case for the 160 km route of the Around the Bay Challenge!
Week 2 - 8th August to 14th August
I’ve somehow managed to have the chain come off my bike, which is terrific. In a hurry to get to work after little sleep, I left my building jumped on the pedals and awkwardly lurched forward in a jolt as the bike seized up with the chain making a terribly… Chunk? Sort of noise. It wasn’t great.
I leant it by a fence and checked the chain, it seemed to be fine, it had just fallen of the… gear cog thingy. As you can see I have great technical knowledge. I attempted to pop it back on, but wasn’t having much luck and I realised my hands were now covered in grease and just waiting to mark my new suit. Yes, I somehow thought it was a good idea to don a new suit for a client I meeting and then jump on my bicycle.
So I now found myself walking my bike to work, determined not to let this get the better of me. A few hours later in a bid to distract myself from some pressing deadlines I was able to fix the chain! Hurrah! I ran around with the bike above my head so all who didn’t care could see my triumph.
I was then able to ride to a meeting in Southbank that evening and soak in the beautiful street-scape and skyline of our city - there’s nothing quite like seeing it all from a bike! Particularly as you cycle along the Yarra through the pockets of people wandering along, who are seemingly thinking the same thing… less the bike.
Week 3 - 15th August to 21st August
How is it already week 3? Time flies when you’re having fun. Sort of. Work, Uni and my other commitments have converged upon me to suffocate any time I thought I had to go cycling, and it’s KILLING ME! I was lucky enough to block out some time this weekend to do a round trip of just over 40 kilometres.
I took my boyfriend Dipesh for a cycle down to Springvale and back from Prahran. I used to do this 5 times a week for almost two years, but hadn’t done so for almost as long. Dipesh really struggled with the hills, whereas I barely felt it, and this gave me a great sense of hope! He’s a gym junkie and is typically the more athletic than me, so it was nice to be the fitter one for once!
They say that when you have an accident, you should get back on the horse, and I’m applying that theory to cycling. My current commitments feel like an accident to the good routine of cycling I’m trying to make, but the best thing I can do is push through and get back on the bike.
Week 4 - 22nd August to 28th August
This week felt great. I joined a group riding session with the Bicycle Network and was astounded at the number of people who cycle up and down Beach road. Seriously. It’s huge. I met the group in St Kilda, down on the Esplanade and together we cycled down to Black Rock and then Mordialloc. I was surprised by how seemingly quick the trip was - not to mention relatively strainless. In anticipation of the challenge, the daunting prospect of 160km continues to loom over me, and I often wonder if I’ve bitten off too much to chew, but looking back on that round trip of 40-odd kilometres, I’m feeling good.
The next step is to do the 80+ km cycles and still feel that good.
The best thing about cycling on Beach road was the real sense of community among the cyclists. One cyclist pulled up beside me and said one of my feet weren’t sitting on the pedal correctly, and that in the longer term I could enjoy some leg pain as a result. We had a chat and he’d been cycling professionally for years, and he provided some great inspiration for the sport.
The security you feel from cycling as a part of that crowd, and the distance and respect the cars along Beach road give you is a real saving grace in a city that can literally be hit-and-miss for cyclists. I know where I’ll be heading each weekend now!