Last weekend was "The Tour de Riverland". A two day cycling event held by the Norwood Cycling Club at Berri, SA. Kate and I decided to take the weekend to head out for the race, and in doing so booked into some nice accommodation. We booked into these sweet eco villas just out of Berri, near Lyrup, sitting on top of the cliffs of the Murray River.
We got up early on Saturday morning to find some real shitty weather. The drive to Berri is almost 3 hours, and it rained nearly the whole way. It was beautiful to see this part of SA when it was raining, however when you are headed to a 86km road race, rain = shit!
Anyways, we get to Berri nice and early so we can enjoy the farmers market and have a pre race coffee. We poke around for a bit, then I start to warm up and am racing by just after 1:30. I was placed in the 28 minute handicap group, and we smashed it. The group worked really well together and we pushed it hard. I had learned from Milang that I really wanted to hang onto any pack that caught us, and hang on I did. It was an amazing feeling pushing it with the faster groups in the last 30 or so kms, and at times being out front of the whole pack. I was having a blast.
The race came down to the last few kms, and I was feeling pretty good, then in the last Km I got boxed in with shitloads of other riders, making it almost impossible to sprint to the finish. In the end I finished 18th, making myself a sweet $110, but I knew that I could have pushed it way harder had I had some clear road. Oh well, this was a darn sight better than my last handicapped road race, so hopefully I can learn from this and pull a better result next race. My mate Steve killed it pulling 3rd!
That night at the b&b was amazing. We cooked some nice food and relaxed in the hot tub looking over the Murray. We wound the night up watching a movie on the ginormous TV and veging out!
The following morning I was up at 6:30 to get some sunrise photos. It was so beautiful at that time of day watching the sun rise over the Murray. My legs wee toasted from the previous days racing, and the thought of having to race the criterium did not sit well.
I headed back to Berri and prepped for the race with some light warm up riding. I knew straight away that I was in trouble. I could tell that there was nothing left in my legs, and once racing started it really showed. I lagged behind early on, and just managed to tag back onto the group after a few laps, to only mooche around and not really compete with anyone for anything! Oh well, it was a good learning experience. I think it shows that it is not a good idea to run 3 half marathons in the 6 days leading up to a big race.
All in all it was a great weekend away. Our first proper holiday since returning to oz and our first roadtrip in our new Clancy. As a sidenote I paid for the racing for the next few days with absolutely pooched legs!