That was one of the toughest days I've ever had on the bike. 60km/h winds with 80km/h gusts which was a head/cross wind for about 80% of the ride coupled with 35 degree heat.
The route was really tough with lots of steep inclines to tackle made all the more harder by the wind in your face. The descents felt like you were being pushed backwards. Everyone was hurting, everyone is tough just for finishing.
I don't think it was run very well and I hope they can see their faults for next time. There was next to no support on the ride, I didn't see any sweep cars, no rolling escorts. Most of the turns weren't marshalled which left a lot of us trying to figure out which way to go. The turns were marked but a lot of them didn't seem quite logical and it's not exactly hard to turn an arrow around to screw people over. The worst part was that even though the temperatures were through the roof there were only two feed stations; one at 38km and one at 80km. That just seems ridiculous to me. I've never had to ration water before. I got to that 80km station and drank like 3L in no time at all. I had 300mL to get me from 105km to the finish which another rider was kind enough to give me.
I have no idea why they sent us down Lovedale Rd. Traffic was really bad along there and because everyone was stretched out cars weren't giving any room while overtaking.
I ended up doing the 122km in 5:04 moving 5:50 total. I was hoping to do it in around 4 but the wind quickly put a stop to that. Actually until the first feed station was really good and I was among a good group of people going at a good pace. We got separated after that and then the wind ramped up and it was like the national trackstand championships.
I was there, terrible wind! I actually crested a hill and slowed down on the freewheeling decent into wind, heartbreaking stuff.
The food stations were incorrectly placed on their course, 1 hour with no water and no carbs (no servos or toilets either) meant a very slow finish.
Only stopped once to check the directions so I didn't find that too bad.
Overall I enjoyed it and would do that one again, hopefully with no gale force winds and more water so i can do it at a respectable time.
I rode this and ended up in Cessnock Hospital with severe dehydration and heat exhaustion. For the record I am 69 years old but race in Masters competition and can usually handle 120klm distances no problem. The big factor was the wind and heat coupled with the distances between drink stations. The 42klm between the first and second stations was against a 50-60klm head wind with 37 degree temperatures and an undulating road with some fairly steep sections. Just about everybody ran out of water at some stage. I ran out with 15klm to go to the second drink station and I was carrying 2 large water bottles. I collapsed on the side of the road with 10klm to go to the second drink station and could not move, severe cramps and shakes.
Within 2-3 minutes of collapsing I was surrounded by about 8 cyclists that had stopped when seeing me. They checked me over, gave me water and rang the emergency medical number. Shortly after the mechanics van pulled up thinking there was some sort of mechanical problem. To cut a long story short they carried me into the mechanics van and to thank them I vomited out of the door just missing one of my rescuers. My bike was put into the Mechanics van and I was transported to the drink station. There I had to wait for the Paramedics (a private company hired by the organisers). They duly arrived and proceeded to work on me, put me on a drip and generally checked me over. They then said my condition was such that I needed to be transported to hospital, an ambulance was called and once again, to cut a long story short, they transported me to Cessnock hospital.
The upshot of all this is I am now fine and went for a short 20klm ride today just to see how I felt. A bit stodgy but should be ok for the weekend races. The only criticism I can make of the whole event is that the fact that the conditions were going to be bad was known before the day of the event and provisions should have been made for at least another 2 drink stations. But I don't think anybody could have forcast just how brutal they were.
If you were one of the cyclists who stopped to assist me you have my heartfelt thanks, I was in a bad way. The camaraderie of cyclists everywhere came to the fore in the best way. My bike and gear where transported back to the start and finish and my riding companions (Cessnock Cycling Conextion) picked me up from hospital and transported me home.
Nobody can control the weather . One day later, today, the weather was perfect, 25 degrees and slight breeze. That's Australia.
Oh man I'm so sorry to hear that but glad you're ok now. I was riding with you blokes at the start until the first feed station and I think I saw you hiking your bike up one of the hills. I now remember looking back on that hill and seeing a bunch of people around a van, I must have just passed you before you collapsed.
Results are out: http://www.tomatoresults.com.au/Default ... 8107&EId=2
137 finishers in 122km. 41 DNFs
Thanks mate. Those results are well and truly skewed. I know for a fact that a lot of riders who "finished" actually took short cuts back. As I was traveling in the ambulance along the road between Branxton and Cessnock I saw a lot of bikes making there way back. That road was not on the route and was a short way back. Not criticising, dont blame them, I know a few of our group took the short cut or the sag wagon. That was the hardest ride I have ever done. The fastest time in the results is an average of 35kph. Possible, but in those conditions I doubt it.
Short cuts! At least they could've taken their timing tag off if they pulled the pin. And 35kph avg? maybe if they did a crit around the block a few times, not over the course on this particular day, I was moving at 10kph into the wind a few times there.
Al were you on a yellow Le Mond?
Ah I'm colour blind so I guess my colours. I think I was on your wheel on the hill you stopped on, the car hit their horn just as you stopped and I went around you? If that was you sorry I didn't stop, thought you were having a breather (I had one not long before that)
Mate there were bikers having "breathers" everywhere. I think the fact I was lying in a foetal position next to my bike was a give-a-way that I was in trouble!
Oh!....Thats what was going on.
I was up in Cessnock on Sunday, then droves of Cyclists started pouring out of a side street, onto the main drag.
Not I was expecting......in Cessnock
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