With a forecast of a cold, wet and windy weekend, admittedly I wasn’t too excited to for the Great Ocean & Otway Classic Ride on Saturday and the City Trail Melbourne Run on Sunday. However, I had committed to these in my “Calendar of Events for 2015”, I had entered and paid the money to start, and my all day Saturday “leave pass” had been approved.
Great Ocean & Otway Classic Ride – 204km
A strong black coffee was required after a very early wake up (3.40am) on Saturday morning. Sebastian, Rusty and I left shortly after 4am to drive to Torquay for what was to be a most enjoyable 204km ride. Another coffee (strong piccolo) was consumed just before heading to the start line. 350 of us pedalled off towards Apollo Bay, departing Torquay at 6.30am. The back roads heading West were mostly flat to undulating and lined on either side by large open farming paddocks. We were lucky with the weather with no signs of rain and a slight head wind. At around the 70km mark heading towards the town of Forrest, we started to encounter a few “bumps” in the road (i.e. hills). This quickly split up the pack of cyclists into smaller groups. The 3 of us found ourselves sharing the work load in the front group (with one cyclist who had jumped ahead of everyone). Not that this was an official race, but there’s always a bit of “muscle flexing” and healthy competition when there’s an abundance of ego and testosterone. As the gradient continued to rise, so did my energy. I was feeling so good and continued to get stronger with each pedal stroke. It felt as though my engine had switched to diesel mode. There was a beautiful downhill stretch of road that continued for 10km all the way to Skenes Creek on the Great Ocean Road. Several of us regrouped and cycled together to the 140km point at Wye River. There is a lovely cafe/eatery/produce store at Wye River, where the 3 of us decided that we had enough “racing” and it was time to “smell the roses.” Until this point I had consumed no food and had approx 300ml of water. The boys were keen on breakfast and I was more than happy to indulge in a mid-morning feast. Rusty ordered, and when the LCHF friendly food arrived, Sebastian (who is almost, but not quite yet on board with LCHF) commented on the lack of “carbs” on his plate. A coconut water and a few nuts (almonds and macadamias) topped off a delicious meal. We refilled our water bottles, and lucky for us the sun was shining with a gentle tail wind to help us get back to Torquay. It had taken us a little over 6 hours to complete the ride (excluding our breakfast stop) which is a very respectable time for a 204km journey on a bicycle. The post ride “meal” consisted of the left over nuts and frequent sips of water on the drive back to Melbourne.
In days gone by the nutrition “requirements” for a ride like this would have looked a lot different to now. The table below shows a comparison from “then” to “now.” (click on the table to enlarge and get a clear view).
City Trail Melbourne Run – 12km
Vicky and I woke up on Sunday morning to the sound of wind and rain. After my positive cycling experience the day before, I was feeling so good that I was excited to lace up my runners no matter what conditions the weather gods would be throwing at us. I prepared my now standard pre-event black coffee, with Vicky opting for a herbal tea instead. My legs felt surprisingly “sprightly” as the gun was fired for the start of the race. However, I dismissed that as the effects of adrenaline that would most likely ware off after the first few hundred meters. I was wrong – my legs did feel good, and I continued to run at a solid pace holding a top 10 position. After about 3-4km of running, a few of us missed a right turn and had to then back track to get on course again. This added a few hundred meters to our race, and a broader smile to my face – I was loving it out there. The cold, wind and rain together with the high intensity running made me feel more alive than ever. With Rapid Ascent as event organisers (same as for the Falls Creek Mountain Raid – read my previous blog here) you can be assured that the course would be tough. They managed to include all the steps, hills, bridges, embankments, twists and turns. The variety was fun and challenging and I was a little disappointed to cross the finish line as it was all over too quickly. Vicky had an excellent run too, with her next event coming up in a couple of weeks time – The Puffing Billy Great Train Race (13.5km run).
Lessons learned from the weekend…
- Following a LCHF lifestyle is no different day to day as it is for exercise, training and competition. This “no fuss” approach eliminates the sports nutrition logistics that I used to have to deal with.
- LCHF nutrition can be classified as a “low stress diet” – i.e. there is reduced stress on the digestive system and associated systemic responses to the consumption of whole foods (seasonal, local and organic), low carbohydrates and healthy fats. My energy levels and recovery (from training and competition) are better than they’ve been for the past 5 years. I attribute this to following a diet that allows my system to easily cope with the nutrients consumed in an “anti-inflammatory” environment.