We headed out into the early morning, still dark as the days are shortening. With headlights amped we aimed the beams at Megz as she mounted her new ride. We waited for her to take point. She lead the crew out in a long procession and we headed north along our usual haunt. Megz was ten foot tall and bullet proof.
We worked our way along the Sea cliff Bridge and Megz opened up and let the legs do the work and before long she was flying. Hitting the first big climb we dialled in the legs to a churn setting and worked our way up Bald Hill and then we stopped for our obligatory welcome to the team little bike photo.....
|Me, H.G, Megzy (proud mum), Simmo and P2|
Re-fuelled and ready to go we headed into the National Park. At this point I was feeling pretty good. I.T.B was tight but not unbearable and the first 25kms had rolled by comfortably. We had made it down into the bottom of the valley and now it was time to do 4 repeats of hills in aero bars. Coach had said don't go out too hard, stay consistent on the hill through each rep. Rep 1 easy, rep 2 no prob, rep 3 and suddenly the other girls were passing me by. I didn't worry, let them go. Heading back down I was caught up by Coach and the boys who had gone further up the road. A quick catch up and reporting in the my leg was now tight from hip to calf and Coach called it. One more up and then head on to Garie. Once at Garie a good stretch and massage and the leg eased again.
50kms in the bag. Now its time to head along an undulating course across the top of the cliffs and head down into Bundeena. A long descent with a drop into town and we stopped and checked out the water before turning to climb back out of Bundeena. OMG! Where did the power go? Suddenly there was nothing. The hill scared me and for a split second I thought I couldn't do it. I pulled on the reserve and climbed out, but the legs were shot. No power, no drive. I laboured back up the ascent and just as we were reaching the T intersection I heard a horn toot. I put my hand out to acknowledge the car as it passed assuming the toot was to let me know he was coming. Suddenly this old Mercedes roared pass me and almost clipped my hand and almost hit the girls in front of me. It scared the begeeberz outta me and there were tears. I had just hit the bottom.
The sensible voice in my head pulled me back out of the dark and I checked my nutrition, way down. I crammed calories and fluid in as quickly as my stomach could handle. All too late. I struggled down the descent into Audley. Usually the climb out of Audley doesn't phase me, but today my head filled with self doubt. We started the climb, Simmo in front, me and then Megz (H.G had headed home only needing 90kms) suddenly I heard a voice in my head scream "I can't do this, I'm going to crash, get off and walk." WTF!!! since when. There was a small verge and so I pulled in. Megz called out as she went by to make sure I was ok. Yep, I just need a sec. Com'on Bowden WTF! A moment later with my song singing in my ear and my saying ringing as a base beat I started to climb once more. I needed to remember that I am strong, I am fierce and I will 'bloody well walk out of here!' and I did. But I was trashed. I limped along the highway with the traffic flying pass me and crawled into the garage station. Once there, I downed a Boost bar, loaded my bento with lollies and a spare water bottle with coke. Now take me home legs.
With the instant sugar lift I managed to get back down into the National Park and then I really hit the wall. Megz was my Hero of the day. She stayed in front and held the pace while I took up my official position as Mayor of Struggle Town. Every now and then I'd break into song...wont you take me to Struggle Town...etc and she laughed. My head was there, my attitude ok (now I had kicked my butt) but my legs were shot. Sometimes you just have days like that, hey.....
And then it happened!
With 100metres to go. Riding side by side through a round-a-bout a car came up on our left. At the give way sign he didn't stop, didn't hesitate just rolled through. I shouted 'he's not stopping'. to Megz we both veered to the right. With me slightly ahead all I heard as I rolled through was the crunch of carbon fibre and bike and body hitting the bitumen. Oh Megz. I couldn't look back. But had to. And there she was standing, now running back to her little P2 laying lifeless on the ground. She picked up her fallen steed now mangled, wheel buckled where the car's wheel had rolled over it, forks smashed, handlebars twisted.....I joined her in the middle of the round-a-bout.
Uninsured, he stood there in the middle of the road glaring at Megz, saying he wasn't even going to stop. Police called. Coach came screaming to the scene. It's just a bike Megz as long as your ok, its just a bike he whispered and hugged her. She looked up at him with heartbreak in her eyes. But I loved my little P2.