3 Dams Challenge

Off to a Sportive event? 'Racing' a charity event or just going somewhere nice with your bike?

3 Dams Challenge

Postby dave mac » Mon Apr 22, 2013 3:16 pm

3 Dams Challenge, Perth Oz, 146km

My entry to this event came about when my brother-in-law unfortunately broke his leg after a really nasty fall off his bike a few weeks ago, as we were there for a fortnight, and the event landed in the middle weekend, he thought it would be an opportunity for me to take his place. I wasn't that sure, especially as it was a team event which he and his teammate had been training for, all I've been doing is turbo sessions for what seems like a lifetime. He started giving me the lines I usually give to others, “you'll easily manage”, “it's not a race” etc. etc., I accepted and duly received a confirmation e-mail.

We arrived early Friday morning and a cycle had been arranged for my teammate and myself at 6:15 am on Sat morning! During the cycle I found out a bit more about my team mate John, he is ex army special forces, had been training for this event for months and his wife is a very competitive triathlete who trains 7 hours a day and had just won a triathlon series she competed in. He also turned up on his new cervelo S5 with zipp 404's - pressure on!

John’s army background was clear to see during our 30-mile run, he had a clear race strategy in mind and we were to meet on the Friday before the event for a race-briefing meeting. That we did and a full briefing was received, along with the entry pack. There was no point in worrying about it although, I didn't want to let him down, it was clear that I wouldn't be able to match his pace, he seemed ok with this and as you had to compete in a team of two, at that stage he had no option.

Race day arrived and I met John along with a team of two women he knew, one a half ironman competitor who normally finished in the top 10 and the other an ex Aussie road race champion!!! Fair to say I was a little apprehensive as we inched towards the timing mat.

Weather conditions - Rain !!! I suppose at least it was warm.

The route was really in 3 parts, a reasonably flat run into the hills, the hilly section followed by a 40k section back to Perth. We were pretty bunched up for the first 20k and progress was hampered as we hit every red traffic light out of town, not that I was that worried about that, it gave me a chance to settle in and get a feel for the pace. We were making good progress as we latched onto a fast group and sat in until the first hill. A long drag of about 7km where the groups split up very quickly, Nicky, the road champ was struggling a bit but the plan was for everyone to go at their own pace then if we split, catch up later on. The rain had stopped but it was really humid and as instructed by my team leader, I started eating and drinking very early on. That hill was the last we saw of Nicky, what John hadn't told me was she had been off the bike for sometime and was just getting back into it.

The rest of the hilly section followed the same pattern; I would catch up on the descents but get dropped on the hills. I really didn't push hard on any of them, just watched my heart rate and climbed at a steady pace and was waiting for the hill which John had said people get off and walk on as it was that steep. Well it turned out that the hills were certainly steep, but nothing really that bad and the descents were great.

We were around half way round the course and heading to the lunch stop when disaster struck. John had taken the front on a long flowing downhill section and we were motoring when we had to make a left at a junction. John braked and almost immediately started to slide sideways as he turned into the corner, he straightened up but couldn't scrub off enough speed resulting in him hitting the central kerb hard, taking some air before hitting the pavement and cartwheeling into the bushes completely disappearing from sight.

Have to say it was very scary to watch and the sound of his new carbon 404 firecrests hitting not one but two big kerb's was horrible. Thankfully he reappeared from the bushes, a bit like Del Boy when reappeared after falling behind the bar in only fools and horses! He had a wee scratch on his leg and his bars dropped a little which was easily fixed, other than that not a mark on the bike or the wheels. We couldn't believe it, because of the speed he hit the kerbs, I would have expected the front wheel to be at the very least scratched but not a mark, very impressed with the strength o’ the zipp’s.

We took it easy for a bit just to check the bike was ok, which it was, so the familiar pattern continued to the lunch stop at the last of the 3 Dam’s. There were timing mats at the lunch stop and the time spent there didn't count towards your race time, they had a live band playing along with various food and drinks on offer. It was clear that a number of folk had been on the deck, the roads were very slippery and unlike us, the Aussies aren't that used to cycling in the rain.

One last climb out of the lunch stop and that was us heading back into Perth, mostly undulating with the last section on a cycle lane. Well, as I had been a bit cautious on the hills, I was feeling ok and ready for a bit of a thrash, John was keen on getting into a fast group and staying out of trouble as long as the group knew what they were doing. We were on our own for a while then latched onto a fast group of about 10 when they came past, we were all working well, taking turns at the front until we caught up on another group who clearly didn't want to play our game and we splintered a bit. As luck would have it I got stuck at the back of the slower lads, before I knew what was going on a gap appeared which I tried to cross. No one came with me so I had to bridge the gap on my own, of course all I did was burn the legs, but thankfully the lead group were all held up by a red light and I made sure I didn’t get caught out again.

We very quickly reached the last section on a cycle path where everyone was going for it, a line of about 15 bikes sweeping round this cycle path, everyone determined not to get dropped - absolutely brilliant, by far the highlight of the day.

Finishing time was 5:04:54, overall positioned 154 out of just short of 1400 entries, clearly John would have been further up the rankings if he and my brother-in-law had completed it. For me after a weeks training which included around 125 cycling miles, 19.5 running miles and 3 swimming sessions and having completed 90% of my cycle sessions on the turbo was happy with that.
dave mac
Maillot Vert
Posts: 137
Joined: Sat Jan 23, 2010 10:10 am

Re: 3 Dams Challenge

Postby Dave H » Wed Apr 24, 2013 9:51 am

Well done Dave, your International racing career seems to be going from strength to strength.
Dave H
Posts: 61
Joined: Tue Aug 16, 2011 4:42 pm

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