*Edit* for pictures from official photographer and official results link
City of Perth Great Bike Ride, after two years of doing the 53km, I thought it was about time for me to step up to the plate and do the 106km. This would be my first ride over 100kms, which I would now build up in the weeks to come for my preparation for the Langkawi Ironman.
Target was to complete the two loop distance around Swan River in 3.5 hours, just over 30kph average.
I woke up before 4.30am with slightly less than 7 hours of sleep. I think I am less rigid with my sleep hours now. No longer needed the full pre race nights sleep of 8 hours. As long as I gave myself sufficient rest, it shouldn't affect my performance too much. I took about an hour to get ready... performed my pre race ritual - had my Nutri Grain cereal, necessary toilet visit, shaved my facial stubble and did my usual stretches. I got to my office building, Central Park, at 5.25am and rode about 1.5km to the race start.
Had my expired banana flavoured Powerbar Performance bar and did another round of stretches before visiting the toilet one last time. Our KPMG tent wasn't even set up yet. There were only 6 of us who were doing the 106km. Considering a turnout of about 1,000 riders for the 106km, I didn't expect to bump into any of us at the line-up.
6am - race start... I must have lined up in a quick wave, as the cyclists were just zooming past me. One of my partners, Graeme (who missed out this year due to a knee surgery) said that we should take advantage by drafting a group to do some good times. I'm so used to cycling in non-drafting triathlon races, hence I kept to my own pace most of the time.
The first 10kms were uneventful apart from several unlucky riders who already suffered punctures by then. I was already 3 minutes inside my target but I knew that there would be a few hills that would slow me down later, so I didn't get too excited.
Upon the 20km mark, we approached the infamous Mosman Mead's hill. There were many who dismounted and started pushing their bikes. There's where I met Brent, fellow colleague and national hockey player (who just missed out on the Beijing Olympics mind you!). He caught me from behind and overtook me. I thought there goes my chances of being the first KPMG finisher.
I still kept to my own race. Using the tri bars as much as possible, when it was safe to do so. I am much more familiar with the route now, doing this race for my third time now, and I have also been doing a lot more rides as compared to previous years (last year's race was done based on spinning training in the gym!)
By the 30km mark I managed to go inside my target by almost 5 minutes. I downed a Powergel, also expired, but found it oozing all over my fingers. I had to lick them off before I could place my hands back on the handle bars, must sayang my Ah Rui mah...
At the 40km mark, another KPMG colleague, Kate, overtook me. She was cycling in a pack. Darn! But I was making good times, so I couldn't have asked for more.
I completed the first loop of 53km in 1:38.00, which is almost 2 minutes quicker than last year's single loop! I thought to myself, if I maintained the same pace for the second loop, I could actually clock 3:16, way inside my target of 3.5 hours! But I reckoned I would be more fatigued in the second lap, so I aimed for under 3:20 instead.
At this point, the later waves of the 53km riders just started, so there was a bit of congestion for the first few kms of the second loop. Some of the riders in these later waves were pretty novices, riding with mountain bikes. So getting through the crowd was quite an effort!
Took my second Powergel at the 60km mark. Less messy this time. The weather was pretty good - a bit cloudy with light winds, not too hot. It threatened to rain but luckily the weather held. I actually had the urge to pee since the earlier parts of the race, but tried blocking it out. I sipped on Powerade every 10kms of the race.
Coming to the Mosman Mead's hill for the second time, I caught up with Brent again. I quickly sped off hopefully he won't catch me - and he didn't!
I only managed to cut down 2-3 minutes from my initial targeted time since the first loop. So I supposed maybe 3:20 was a big ask after all. Somewhere at the 80km mark, I overtook Kate. So things were still looking pretty good!
3rd Powergel was taken at the 90km mark, no mess at all *big grin* Call it psychological, but each time I down a Powergel, I somehow sped up for a couple of kms. And this time as the end seemed near, I just hammered it through!
Cycling on the freeway, there were safety cones which divided us cyclists from the vehicle traffic. One cyclist knocked over one of the cones and caused it to roll all over! Hope it didn't cause any accidents behind!
Only about 10kms left to go... I managed to cut down a few more minutes from my targeted time. 3:20 was definitely in sight, I was gunning for sub 3:15 now! Powering through... I hit the finish line in 3:13.27 (average 32.9kph)! My second lap was quicker by 2.5 minutes! For full results, click *here*
Dismounted and walked to the KPMG tent. Fernsy, Heggie and Craig were already there. They did the 53km. Come on, fellas! You guys beat me last year in the 53km and you're still doing the 53km? Soft, I tell ya!
There were many at our tent who have already completed the 53km and the 10km family ride. I helped myself to the feast - bacon and egg muffins, cinnamon buns, danish pastries, fruits and yoghurt. I wasn't keen on drinking more energy drinks, I didn't even finish my first bottle of Powerade!
Kate came in soon after that, but her timing was faster as she started later, oh welll... Then came in Rob, followed by Charlie and Brent. Apparently Brent really suffered in the second lap. Then came Louise and that completed our KPMG team of 106km cyclists. Louise and Charlie actually made a bet on who would finish first, and the odds were stacked against Charlie!
I hung around a bit to socialize, including seeing my division partner in-charge, Rob (also same surname as the other Rob) finish the 53km. I lent Rob (partner in-charge) my Avanti, he was pretty pleased with it. Other notable stories included recently engaged couple, Cade and Katie - Cade sped off leaving Katie behind after 10kms!
I also met Lydia who braved our cold Perth weather (in her words, hehheh) and did the 53km 4 days after she arrived in this foreign land for her visit! Well done!
First ride over 100kms done. Next Sunday's ride would be 120km. Let's see how that goes... 95 more days to Langkawi Ironman!