It's the biggest ride I have done to date. Not so much the distance, but the hills peeps...the hills! Couple of daunting Cat 3s and 4s. Roberto and I arrive and the gathering has started. People dressed in red, black and white kits are unpacking their bikes out of the back of their cars, or off the roof. We unload out steeds and load up the water bottles. I'm nervous as hell!
Why? Well, these guys are the Ducks Guts. The big guys. The Crew! And I'm just a lil ol lady with an idea she can give it a crack. We mount up and split into 2 groups, guys and girls. I have already given Rob the heads up that I needed a wing man and so Goose fell into formation beside me and enjoyed the view from the back of the pack.
The girls hit out pretty hard and as the day was cold and windy I immediately felt intimidated. Oh crap! I am just going to have to hang on here. The guys had disappeared within a couple of kms, their blinking tail lights fading into the distance. We got to about 10kms and the hills began. There are 7 hills to the Seacliff Bridge and then there is another short sharp climb before the Beast! uhh I was stressing. We singled up and I took a deep breath, steady my nerves and began the climb following the more experienced girls up the climb.
I took turns between seated spin and up on the pegs dancing like Contador (well maybe not quite as good as him). It is a long steep climb and having done it only once before I knew what I was in for and stuck it out. A huge unexpected surprise was overtaking 3 of the girls who were going so slow I would have fallen off my bike had I stayed behind them. Punching fist in the air moment when I reached the top, turned hard right another short pinch and rolled into the car park.
|Me and my wing man..Rob at the top of Bald Hill|
We regrouped at the car park, took the photo as evidence and in the howling westerly wind we headed into the National Park. It was freezing team. Absolutely freezing. I put my long fingered gloves on in the car park thank goodness and so as we descended into the Natio with dropping temperatures I sat comfortably and content now in second wheel. Goose sitting behind me with another guy we met up with. At least now he wasn't the only dude on the ride.
Next hurdle was a 7km drag uphill to Garie. Once again we singled up and lightened the gear and started to spin. With Roberto in front and one other girl I sat comfortably working in 3rd wheel and soon left the rest of the girls and guy behind. By the time we reached the top of the climb the crew were out of sight behind us and the 3 of us sat waiting to regroup once again. Turn around time.
Heading home, my confidence continued to build. A long downhill ride before a last climb out of the park, and then it was a descend on the Beast! The westerly blasted at our faces but I hit the descent with gusto and loved the feeling of slamming down the hill with the cars struggling to keep up. At the bottom, I sat slowly turning the peddles over waiting for the crew to catch up and then we hit the westerly head on and punched into it for the next 20kms. Hard work, Roberto and I took turns off the front as the rest of the girls (and guy) sat drafting off us. I felt amazing! I was confident and getting stronger the further we went.
We arrived back at Coach's house and he asked me how I went? Yeah ok.... How are the legs? Yeah good........
Rob and I headed home. Later that day I got a text from Coach. "OMG Sammi you killed it out there. Everyone has told me how well you rode. You need to have more faith in your abilities. Coming back next week?"
Hills + Winds + Crew = Sammi gets Stronger......I'm in!