I don’t know if I’ve blogged about it or not, but Sunday week I head off on the Great Alfred Bike Ride #gabr. It’s an 825 Km, 7 day (6 really) epic cycling adventure around country Victoria to raise money for The Alfred Hospital’s trauma department – they’ve got their eyes on a new digital x-ray something or other and need some help buying it.
I’m doing the ride for a number of reasons, including:
- It’s going to be another cycling adventure – something I really can’t say no to – and I’ll see some of country Victoria that I’ve either never seen or only through a car window. Big climbs, amazing scenery, fresh air, bikes – all good stuff.
- The ride is being led by Phil Anderson, one of my cycling heroes. First non-European to wear the yellow jersey in the Tour de France. I started to get interested in pro cycling in the early 80’s, around the time that Phil was making a name for himself in Europe. There wasn’t any internet, SBS or front page coverage of cycling in those days. The Age had a few lines of news, usually 3 days late, when the TdF was running and I’d scour the results looking for Phil’s name.
- I’m a former customer of The Alfred’s trauma department – spent a bit of time there nearly 18 months ago when I broke my back, so I decided I should give something back.
We had a ride briefing (it’s going to be tough) & were presented our cycling kit for the ride last week, and got to see trauma, intensive care and the helipad at The Alfred – last time I was in trauma, all I saw was the ceiling; and I hope it’s a long time until I have to see any of these areas again.
I’ve been training for the ride – 5 to 6 days a week, but I don’t like to blog about it: Kms completed for the week, hills repeated, strength efforts, ergo sessions and the like doesn’t really make for interesting reading.
This Sunday just past I did a training ride with about a dozen of the other GABR participants. When I ride with a new group, I say my version of the Test Pilot’s prayer, usually “don’t let me fuck this up” but in my case, “don’t let me be the slowest”.
I don’t know why I hadn’t considered this before we pedalled off for a total SMASHFEST around the eastern & northern suburbs of Melbourne early on Sunday morning, but the alpha personality types that end up running hospitals, or emergency & intensive care departments, tend to be COMPETITIVE & DRIVEN PEOPLE.
Every steep pitch in Templestowe, every rise in the road in Kangaroo Ground or Eltham, there we were fighting to be first to the top. After the first few I realised I wasn’t anywhere near the fastest, so while I didn’t relax, I stopped worrying. At least someone had been listening to my prayer and I wasn’t the slowest. And I’m one of the quicker descenders (a few Kgs excess can have it’s advantages)
It’s going to be a fun week riding with these guys!