Monday, September 17, 2007

7 hours on a bike... do you have to ask why?

Turning those pedal for 7 hours. From Grafton on NSW's north coast to Inverell, inland and high up over the escarpment... 230-odd kilometres of fun, fun, fun in the wind and sun. I say this from personal experience. Well, I almost made it - once - anyway. You'll see all of the winners - and any finisher is a winner - and the 2007 DNF's on this list at CyclingResults.

In 1987 I was on that DNF list, disgusted that Dave, the only guy left in my "bunch" wanted to quit just short of Glen Innes (about 180km or so from the start). So disgusted that I stopped too, threw my bike down (gently) and tossed my $100 Oakley glasses into a ditch. Now it seems harsh that I even slightly blame Dave (sorry Dave), and it was my fault that I was riding with Dave and not with the winning bunch, but there's more to this than meets the expensive US-made eyeglasses. 50km to go doesn't seem much unless you have already ridden 180km. And when you have what bike riders call a "sag" wagon following you, waiting to pick you up when your physical and/or mental day is over, and that wagon is now following just you, or just me as it now was, the pressure mounts really fast. Do I keep everyone enthralled, watching me creep along, or do I swallow my pride and say, 'oh well, that bike racing!'. Now 50 kilometres in that terrain when already exhausted can easily mean another hour and a half, or even 2 hours if the wheels really fall off. That could be a nine hour day on the pushie. So I quit.

Years later I went back to the same spot (believe me, it's etched into my memory forever) to look for my Oakleys. A forlorn gesture I know, but I had to stand there again and relive the pain... at least in some measure. They weren't there, or not visibly anyway. Now is that closure, or do I have to go back and ride the darn thing again?