Fantastic effort Big Horn. Smashing your own time like that is as satisfying as a good race result. Nice job on Perrins cracking the 9 minutes.
My best example of such feelings have been from year to year in the Alpine Classic. I remember way back in the early 1990s (when you were still a toddler!), the Classic was the original event which prompted my interest in cycling and I finished my first 200k in over 11 hours on my 15kg steel Apollo.
The next year I did it in about 10:30 or so and I still remember celebrating those achievements with special dinners at Poplars restaurant in Bright with my cycling mates and family. I particularly remember my sore arse after spending so much time in the saddle and having a very uncomfortable night at the restaurant.
As I got more serious about cycling I became more serious about my Classic times. I cracked 10, 9 and 8 over the years with reasonable ease as I got fitter. Then I started to aim for that elusive 7. Not so easy!
I ended up having to add a further step into the process… 7:30 holding it’s own particular challenge. I grabbed a 7:43 one year and then the next, knowing as I topped Tawonga that I was on track for cracking the big 7:30, I crashed on the drop at about 70kph after blowing out a rear tyre taking a bad line around a right-hander.
I had just previously overtaken Smithy on the descent and he was the first to stop and help me. That was the day we first met! Bernie Hanley’s wife was driving up the opposite direction and also stopped to see if I was alive. That was my very first encounter with the 6am-ers. A large credit to Smithy considering his goals had been quite similarly aligned to mine and he was pushing hard to crack the 7:30 as well. I’ve felt bad about slowing his Classic time down ever since.
The following year I finished in 7:28 then got serious about the 7.
7:14 in 2007 resulted in my coming to grips with the fact that I’d have to stop enjoying my food so much to go any quicker. Bugger!
6:59 in 2008 at 97kg. I was a bit unsure about accepting it as a real crack of 7 when it was so close, despite the fact that my time was proven on the time stamp (0620-1319). I felt like I had to really smash under the hour in order to prove it properly.
So in 2009 I gave it my best crack ever. 6:52 whilst weighing in at 100kg – if only I’d starved myself! Oh what a feeling. The thing about the Classic is (and it’s just like you on Perrins), there’s no crowd at the finish line waiting to cheer in the winner. With all the other rides going on there are people crossing the finish line every few seconds and nobody really knows what particular ride you’ve done.
… just that lonely but extremely satisfying feeling of having achieved a very important personal goal. And sharing it with a few mates and your family who understand what you’ve achieved whilst relaxing in the river and trying not to cramp?… there’s no better feeling.
I’ve got to admit, I did love over-hearing an official answering a question from a spectator just after I’d finished my last 200k, “…no mate, nobody’s finished the 200k. Those guys ‘ll be miles off yet.”