This was a last-minute decision to enter, as a conflicting local event got cancelled only a few hours before entries for this one closed (although Deb said they would have let me in anyway).
I drove down to Melbourne last night and stayed with Prue in her new/old house. Got fed, watered, air conditioned (lovely!) and went to bed early. Up earlyish this morning for the last part of the drive to Warburton. Long-time readers may remember that I used to live out this way – but it’s been 5 years since I last drove through. And no, nothing’s changed much, apart from a few extra traffic lights. The usual collection of dickhead drivers who find it acceptable to hold up an entire line of traffic just because they can’t or won’t do anything approaching the legal speed limit.
Aaaaanyway, enough of that.
We got to the oval, got the bike set up, and had half an hour to say hello to everyone I haven’t seen for ages. Then we were off. The first run leg was a scatter course – 9 controls out of 14. I’m a bit out of practice at this! I only made one dumb route choice which cost me a bit of time, but it felt awkward the whole way around. I had already decided not to try and push the pace. I walked a lot of the hills, and then took my time in transition; changing into bike shoes, having a drink, chatting to people. Letting Prue get ahead of me(!).
The bike leg was also a scatter – 12 controls out of 18. I took absolutely ages trying to identify a decent route, without much luck. In the end, I just pointed the bike back along the river and hoped for the best. The main route choice decision was whether to climb up to the aqueduct trail or to stay down in the streets. I opted for the trail, mainly because people have said how nice it was. Well. Getting up there wasn’t very nice at all! Ferally steep. The first short sharp climb, I was in first gear and going nowhere. I took nearly 20 minutes to push the bloody pushbike up one kilometre of road. The unsealed bit near the top was so steep my feet kept slipping.
Finally up, and yes, the trail is lovely. Next time I will drive to the top – I *think* the 4WD will make it. It was over 4 kilometres of flat, scenic, packed gravel track. And then back down into the hilly stuff. With a couple of controls to go, I realised that I’d miscounted the controls I needed to get. There was nothing else particularly close and easy, so I opted for flatness rather than closeness.
Got into transition about the same time as Prue, but after changing shoes again, followed her out onto the final run leg – a line course of 6 controls. I passed her when she slowed to a walk, and managed to hold her off as the temperature climbed and energy levels faded. Thankfully this final leg was a no-brainer; just hanging on until the finish.
Course distance: 3.9 + 10.5 + 2.5 km
Distance covered: 5.0 km + 14 km + 2.5 km
Time taken: 2:16
And then I dumped the compass and the Garmin and walked straight into the river (along with nearly everybody else). Icy cold, and very refreshing. Then pizza at the woodfired place recommended by Chloe. Good choice.