Campbell Stuart’s Around the Bay Ride Report.

Hi David

Around the Bay 2017 210km anticlockwise
I got my first road bike 14 weeks ago and started following David’s (Cycling Inform’s) training program 11 weeks ago and completed Around the Bay 210km anticlockwise 25th anniversary 2017 in a surprising time of 6h50m. Thank-you David for the excellent advice including responses to specific questions. Details re training, the ride, nutrition etc follow.

PRIOR EXERCISE: In terms of general fitness I am 52 and over the ten years prior to getting my road bike cycled 16km per day to and from work along the bike path beside the Yarra four days per week and did two spin classes per week. The longest I had ever ridden prior to to getting my road bike was 60km, although I have consistently done other exercise eg did the Haute Route ski tour (6 days x 5 hours per day skinning up hills between Chamonix and Zermatt at altitudes typically between 2500 and 3500m) earlier this year.

TRAINING: In additon to my commute, I I followed David’s training program pretty much religiously apart from two to four weeks out where I did a few hours more per week and otherwise swapped the non riding sessions for 1x yoga and 1x circuit class per week. The advice to have a couple of easy / non riding days per week really helped physically, motivationally and logistically (given the often excessively windy and wet Melbourne weather and other commitments). For the weekday rides, I rode Yarra Blvd (little traffic, undulating with a couple of short steep hill options to the side) and for the weekend rides rode Beach Rd ie Melbourne to Mordialloc/Frankston/Mt Eliza depending on the day (flat). In terms of monitoring I used my heart rate monitor more than my power meter, perhaps because I was more used to it.

ATB WEATHER: 15 degrees at 530am start rising to 25 degrees at 1.15pm finish with a northerly c. 20kmph at the start (tailwind) c. 30kmph at the end (headwind). A light shower or two in Geelong.

ATB PACE AND PROGRESS 1H: Started within the 30-34kmph category. Very slow from Alexander Gardens to the top of the Westgate bridge because of the number of riders squeezed into one lane and the number of red lights. Took c 30 mins to do the first 8kms. Then pace really picked up to a consistently faster than expected 35-45kmph all the way to Geelong. It was boring on the freeway in the dark but with the right bunch and the tail wind it was fast. Averaged 39kmph in the middle hour. Then following very slow lights thorough Geelong, put in a hard paced hour to Queenscliiff (uphill out of Geelong and then a nicer downhill) in a small bunch / pair / on my own. Got to the 9am ferry at 8.56am (last one of several hundred on the ferry!). Had been 200-220 watts average for c. 2h45 hours of the 3h25 1H ride (111km). My Garmin suggested a recovery time of 37 hours but the time on the ferry was only going to be 50 minutes!

ATB 2H: Got off the ferry at 9.50am and joined the back of a motivated bunch on the good roads out of Sorrento. Despite a cross wind averaged a surprising 35kmph in the first hour from the ferry. Couldn’t keep up with the better riders on the modest hills around Saftey Beach and Mt Eliza and linked up with another rider to form a pair and moved along at a hard 35kmph pace into Frankston. Had been at an average of c. 200 watts from the ferry. Two minute stop in Frankston and luckily, given the solid head wind, managed to join near the back of a LBS group (Total Rush – where I purchased my bike – had combined with Mercedes Berwick – where my wife had purchased her car – as an aside cant speak highly enough of Total Rush’s friendly attitude, service and expertise – Mercedes Berwick also very good). Very orderly and enjoyable group of 30 or so riding two abreast at a consistent 30kmph almost all the way back to Melbourne into the head wind so made good time with output more at the 150 watt level. Arrived at the finish line about 1.15pm for 2H ride time of 3h25 (89km). Total ride time 6h50m (average c 31kmph) better than expected for my first ATB.

NUTRITION. Day before had pasta dinner and then muesli/fruit etc before bed snack. Museli/fruit etc bkfst on the day. On the 1H way down drank 2x 500ml liquid with carb powder in plus ate three energy bars (ate a little every half hour). Had planned to (and probably should have) stopped for a water refill but could see that I could just make the 9am ferry (rather than wait until the next one at 930am) if I didn’t stop and pushed on (at the real risk of making the 2H hard, although as it happened as above the 2H was slightly easier). So arrived at ferry a bit dehydrated. Also had send a valet pack of additional food for the 2H to pick up at Queenscliff but had a choice of picking it up or getting on the ferry! Fortunately was given a sandwich (dry) and banana by the race organisers and the ferry has a cafe so bought a chocolate bar and drank lots of water and Gatorade and refilled my two bottles with Gatorade. Refilled one bottle with water in Frankston. Had two energy bars which I consumed on the way back but three or four would have been better as almost, but not quite, ran out of energy.

OTHER. Saw a lot of punctures. Can’t believe the Vic govt hadn’t swept the roads / edge especially on the way to Geelong. Very happy I had tubeless tyres with their much lower incidence of punctures (have yet to have one in 14 weeks or riding).

SUMMARY: Faster and higher output than expected but also more enjoyable that expected partly because of a great bunch in the last 1h45. Thoroughly recommendable! Will repeat in 2018!