Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road People’s Ride: Mark’s Story

Thanks to Cycling Geelong member, Mark Drehlich for this personal slant on the people’s ride

Cadels Peoples Ride, my experience

This year I decided to ride in the peoples ride and I had a great time. The following is my experience. I am an irregular rider on Cycling Geelong rides but can sometimes be found on the Saturday morning river ride. I haven’t ridden many organised rides but attempted the 100km Shepparton fruit loop ride last September which, even though it was fun, ended prematurely after my 3rd puncture at the 65km mark. A ride in the sag wagon got me home.

My next major effort was a combined CG/GTC ride from Rippleside to Drysdale, Ocean Grove, Curlewis and back, about 65km. I learnt a lot on this ride, mainly I should include some hill climbing in my rides and that magnesium tablets help with cramping. I limped home at the back of the group and was glad to see the end.

So with the above history, I made some goals so that I could get through the short course of the peoples ride without too much trouble. I started riding three times a week and included one hilly circuit in these rides. I wanted to beat the sag wagon and not be last but mainly enjoy the ride. My distances gradually increased and on the morning of the ride I was confident of achieving my goals.

I started at the back of the group as I wasn’t sure what pace I could maintain and rolled over the start line just before 8 am. I had met a friend from work also riding, so rode with him for a while until some traffic light congestion split us up. As we entered Barwon Heads Road and the groups started to spread out I Iatched onto the back of a group and started making my way back to my friend who was somewhere up ahead. I was passing people, making good progress and keeping my average speed around 23kmh.

As we came to the round-about at Bluestone School Rd I saw a cyclist on the side of the road, bike pump in hand. Having been in this situation before, I pulled over and offered to help. She had no tools, spares or much of an idea, so I brokered a deal. I’ll change your tube if you lead the way into Barwon Heads, no worries she said. My tyre changing speed was no match for her cycling speed though. After a slow change we were back on the road pushing 30kmh and passing all the people that passed us. Things went well until a 2nd flat as we arrived at Barwon Heads. This time we agreed to arrange a mechanic to assist. I continued on as I was worried about missing cut-off times. I made it to the rest area and filled my water bottles and grabbed a banana. After about 5 minutes the marshal announced the road would be opened soon, so we should get going.

I joined others for the pleasant ride along the 13th beach dunes and soaked up the view. I also passed a rider in a dragon suit, (good luck to him). Down on the flats behind black rock I started getting twitches in my thighs and calves and I thought the cramps were coming back to haunt me. Again I latched onto the back of a group and took it easy but they were still twitching. I put this down to the high speed effort after changing the flat and thought my day was going to end badly. I pulled over for a 5 minute break and took some magnesium pills and hoped they would do the trick. The next few kms would give me an idea as to how the legs would hold out.

After turning into Horseshoe Bend Rd I caught up with the group who were also taking a breather and we continued on towards home. The weather was beautiful for riding and the pace was just right. We passed Team Katusha and Team Drapac going the other way on a practice ride and were having some good conversations amongst the group. The closer we got to Geelong the more concerned we were about coming across road closures due to the women’s race so we pushed on. Once back in Geelong there were signs of the road closures being imminent and many more volunteers guarding intersections. Our route left the women’s course in East Geelong where we all found a nice little hill after a left corner. I know nothing compared to what the long course riders were battling but it was a steep pinch after 65kms.

Heading through Eastern Park I was passed by someone who looked back, then slowed down and waited for me. It was the lady who’s flat I fixed. She slowed down and waited and we rode across the line together. It was just on 1130, I had finished, wasn’t last and had beaten the sag wagon. I had achieved all I had set out to do and felt a great sense of satisfaction. I never caught my workmate but had a great ride. The rest of the afternoon was spent wandering around the foreshore and watching the Women’s Race on the big screen in Transvaal Square.cadelride4

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