Our Sherpa got off the turps, just long enough to get fit and go up some hills. Here is what he had to say about it, among other things....

What does it mean to be a King's Man?… It's not about racing bikes… It's not about winning tours… It's about riding your guts out and not being a wanker after it.. So I went and won the ToBright last weekend… Below is a run down of how I tried to complete the tour and not turn into a ‘Decked out Wanker’…

Last weekend I traveled to Bright - Bright was formally known as Victoria’s secret green oasis. Now it is very very very well known, and home to the annual event for middle aged males who look like they have aids… .

As I arrived on Thursday afternoon I thought to myself, what do the local Ovens region residents think of these sick looking people coming into their hood? The 17 year old mothers at Wangaratta Coles probably think there is a Christian ‘The Machinist’ Bale look-a-like competition on, they probably also hate it that these bony freaks are clearing out there supermarket of diet pills, soda water and 99% calorie free pasta. Woodie's ex-flings are probably waiting at the 'Welcome to Bright' sign with their Zimmer-frames, getting ready for a night of hip cracking passion. And, the middle aged males with aids are dreaming of the end to #nofoodnovember .

As you probably becoming aware, large groups of cyclists who take themselves too seriously, buy too many gadgets and have little talent, all in the one place, is not really my favorite way of spending a weekend and burning my annual leave. But whilst having a brain fart approx. 10 weeks ago, I put my name in the ballot for an entry…. Unfortunately the brain fart had ceased 9 weeks out from the tour and I was presented with a list of B-grade participants and my name was on the list. I was livid, as I knew the hardest part of Bright wouldn't be the race itself but leaving the people around me with a self absorbed amateur who is taking a BIKE RACE way too seriously. So I made three decisions to make this easiest for everyone:

Decision 1 – write a training program that only included 1 long ride a weekend and the majority of my training completed before work during the week.

Decision 2 – don’t turn into a wannker and buy any new equipment, especially new TT equipment that I will never use again.

Decision 3 – weigh myself everyday.

So with these three key things to complete, I got going with my training. 

3 weeks in I was starting to get fit, get injured and hate the bike. So I went on a holiday to Port Douglas for a week, refreshed, and came back motivated for the next 4 weeks. Over the last 4 weeks before the race I didn’t miss a ride, even a 5 hour ride in then Nongs where I didn’t take my rain cape off at all. I was getting up before my 5am alarm raring to go and the body was starting to morph into something it hadn’t been for a long time.  I was feeling good but held myself back and stuck to the training program, no extra races, no extra efforts, no extra km’s. Every session I was feeling fresh and every session I completed the required work at the required effort.  

I knew ToBright prep was going well when two weeks before, I rode up THE WALL quicker than expected, and then a week before the race, I mixed it up with the big kids at Mt Gambier 100mile (distance not my forte) and got third. But the inevitable self doubt and nerves got me the days before the race - not once in the prep had I planned for a result, just an honest race, but the mind started to wander to illusions of grandeur and podium girls.  This was made worse when I won the opening time trial by 19seconds. Friday night and Saturday morning was one of the worst bike racing experiences I have ever had, nerves, sleepless night, internet stalking the top 5 in GC,  covering trivial breaks, and the ultimately blowing up in the last 800m on Tawonga and losing 19 seconds.

So, on to the Queen Stage – HOTHAM – I just went in to race the race and win, I sat at the back of the group up the first 20km of the climb, I rode hard on CRB, I had 6k to go to victory, my heart rate was off the chart, a Michael Rasmussan looking guy rode away from me with 2.5k to go, but I didn’t blow, I rode steady, I crossed the line, I got 2nd - other riders had lost minutes, I didn’t even think about Michael Rasmussan riding into the tour victory. I was just happy that I got through the training, didn’t turn into a decked out wanker with no idea, and got to spend a great weekend with like minded KINGS MEN!