As we waited for the race organisers to do all their chores it was a bit shivery on the side of the road. And the trucks. There must have been 20 go by in a short time and I was getting nervous about the race. Big ore haulers, lots of army weird trucks, cattle trucks. Every one went by and you could feel the slam of air and the roar of their passage. I am terrified of trucks.
Time came to get going and off we took. I am shivering by now and my legs have seized up so I am not making a swift start. The rolling hills begin at the beginning and I am thinking that I really need to do some hill work because this is very hard, and then on only the second roller the WOFs of D grade attack and I am on my own. So I settle in for ITT and suffer up the hills and pedal like a mad thing down the hills trying to make up time. Plan A (stay in the big ring) goes out the window after about 15 kms as the latic acid makes me slow down. I ease up and increase the cadence and I feel better.
40kms out and back. The last hill before the turn is actually a hill, and as I haul up it I manage to think how lucky am am that the day is clear and blue, and the sun is warm on my back, and I am having a good (hard) time. Then crest the hill, fly down to the turn, face the hill that I just flew down (doh) and now I am lucky that I have hardly seen a truck and that gets me back up and heading home. I think it is a lot more downhill than uphill on the return (I haven't ridden it before) and now I am at least getting some speeds that are not just embarrassing. My legs are warm and loose and I feel good.
In what seems a short time I am nearly back to the finish line, and I approach the last narrowing of the road to cross a bridge. I see a road train will hit the bridge about the same time coming from the other direction. I don't have time for much thought, I signal right and take my lane so that when he goes by and I am swept a half metre to my left I am away from the edge of the bridge and don't hit the curb. My heart pounds.
I see the finish line ahead and I pour it on for the downhill finish, but as I near the road is covered in cyclists and I have to break to avoid them. I am still shaking from the truck and I see red. I holler at the bastards to have a little respect for the lantern rouge, and I rip a strip off the chief commissar. Do you want to make a formal complaint? Yes, I am now. You can tell a lot about a club by how they treat their weakest members, and I am not impressed with mine, but it is the only game in town.
I was the slowest rider today. But I got some hills under me, and I really enjoyed the race. I'll be back, if only to annoy the pack. Trucks and all, it was a great way to spend a Sunday morning.