IPWR Q&A

While I gather my thoughts on the IPWR, I thought I would share some interesting questions about my IPWR ride posed to me by a friend and avid dot watcher Justin B.

I am also planning three articles on my IPWR adventure and another one on my tips and tricks for the IPWR. So stay tuned, more to come.

Physical

What preparation/training did you wish you’d done more of? Equally, was there any area that you felt you wouldn’t focus on next time?
Overall I felt my physical preparation for the event was about right. Over and above my regular training which consists of approximately 270 – 300k a week, I conducted a couple 700 – 800k weekend training rides and a couple of Audax rides. These rides were completed with a full load so I could test what worked and didn’t work. The improvement to this would be to do a 3-day ride because by the third day your body starts adapting more to requirements of ultra-distance cycling. I would have also spent more time sleeping rough and getting used to how to handle it.

What surprised you most in terms of how your body felt/responded as the ride progressed?
I suppose it was the lack muscle soreness. After the first day my muscles were quite sore like you would get from a typical day’s riding but quickly your riding style adjusts, and the muscle soreness goes away. Of course, this was replaced with knee, tendon and Achilles soreness.

What issues/injuries/niggles did you encounter and how did you manage them? Did typical issues like Achilles and knee issues present themselves? Was there ever a point where you had concerns about doing some permanent damage as you pushed on?
Day 4 was a bad day for me. Up until then I had been travelling well and feeling good. I suffered a muscle spasm in my left quad which just about stopped me, it certainly slowed me down and hurt like hell, not even Panadiene forte would ease the pain. When it happened, I was forced to peddle 20k on much one leg to get to Cocklebiddy. The next day was slow going but it came good. For days after it was sensitive and I couldn’t put much pressure on it, but I was able to ride.

I don’t think I was ever concerned about doing permanent damage. Sure the body was in pain but the nothing that bad to cause me concern. Post ride, however, I am suffering Ulnar Palsy in my hands, it’s worse in the left hand which is still numb, and I have noticeable lack of fine motor skills and strength in both hands.

The oft-non-discussed saddle sores?
On this, Bepanthen is your friend, applied early and often, and saddle soreness was never an issue. I also used a “touring saddle” as opposed to a flat racing saddle which increased the comfort, in my case, it was a Brooks C13 Cambium saddle. That said, in the first few days there was some mild discomfort while the body adjusted but after that, it was never a concern.

Do you think that end-of-day leg compression helped with recovery and would you do anything different next time in terms of end-of-day recovery routine (such as stretching, timing of food intake etc.)?
I would tentatively say yes to this even if it was mainly psychological. I will say on the nights I slept rough I didn’t bother putting on compression leggings and still seemed to perform at the same level, so I guess the jury is out on whether they actually did anything but like I say, mentally it made me feel better.

The biggest thing for me at the end of the day was to get a least of a litre of milk into me post ride. Both for hydration and the proteins contained in milk to aid my recovery. Because time off the bike is limited, I wasn’t doing any stretches but then I’ve never been one for post ride stretching. Likewise, there was no specific timing for food. It sort of depended on where you were. For instance, in small country towns, you pretty much knew where you would sleep so you could eat then work out where you would sleep. In bigger places like Geelong or Port Augusta finding a safe location was the priority then you would eat.

Aside from the last 25 hours, what was the most challenging segment of the ride?
Without a shadow of a doubt, Day 16, the climb over the Snowy mountains. Since leaving Melbourne, there had been a lot of climbing, and I had a lousy start to day 16. By the time I reached Adaminaby I was smashed physically and mentally if I wasn’t so close to the finish, I may have pulled the pin. By the end of the day, I really hated the bike. I will say it was the spirit of competition that kept me going, which is a nice way of saying I wasn’t going to let Callum beat me 🙂

Do you think your body composition changed much from start to finish (overall weight and lean body mass)?
I was curious about this one myself, thanks to my Garmin smart scales I can report no real change in my overall weight and my body fat went from 14.2% to 13.8%.

How much sleep do you think you were averaging? Did this change much from start to finish?
On average I was getting 4-6 hours sleep a night, and this remained pretty constant throughout the event. After day 2, I stopped using my alarm, I figured I would just let my body wake up when it was ready, as it turned out, this was about 4-6 hours and at around 0230 -0300h in the morning. On some occasions when I had a bad night’s sleep, I would also have a 15 -30 minutes power nap mid-morning.

What if anything would you change in your race plan? That is, would you start harder/easier next time, now that you know how your body will react over the totality of the ride.
Not much, my mantra was always not to over extend myself and stay in control. So while my start may have seemed a bit slow, it paid dividends in the second half of the race. While others were struggling, I was still feeling strong. 

Nutrition

What was the food plan?
We all start with lofty ideals of eating well, but the realities of roadhouse cuisine soon smash this. Even what I would consider basics, such as muesli bars and pre-package fruit can be hard to come by. From Merridan to Port Augusta it was a case of buying what ever food you can get your hands on that will keep you going, Pizza shapes and lollies such as snakes or frogs became a big staple in my diet. That said, some of the things I tried to stick by, as previously mentioned, I was big on milk post ride and in the mornings. Eventually, I developed a liking for about a litre of UpnGo and a tin of fruit as my first breakfast. I found this worked well because you could buy it the night before and carry it for as long you needed and this was enough to get me through to second breakfast.

Did you have any issues managing glucose/energy peaks and troughs?
Constantly and I was a bit of a slow leaner in this respect. It wasn’t until after Adelaide when I had awful morning I gained an appreciation of how much food I needed to be eating. It was always worse in the mornings until I started having the UpnGo and fruit in the morning.

How did the caffeine intake work out? How did you balance the need/timing to ingest caffeine with making sure you weren’t too wired when you needed to sleep?
I was relatively conscience of my caffeine intake; I pretty much stopped my caffeine intake around midday except for a couple of cokes in the afternoon. My primary source of caffeine was No-doz tablets, I just found it convenient, and it was easy to measure my intake. That said, I still found getting to sleep problematic, which you wouldn’t think would be the case after the early start and long miles each day.

How happy were you with your ability to carry enough food and especially water between the multiple 190km distances between services in the first half of the race?
Completely happy, that said,  given this was a primary concern of mine before the race I had put a lot of time testing my set-up. Besides the standard two frame mounted bidons I had two modified cages on the forks which were capable of carrying 1.5l bottles of water, plus I could carry up to 3 one litres bottles in my jersey or back-sack, so that gave me a total capacity of 8 litres.  As it turns out, that was more than enough. Likewise, the back-sack proved a good way of carrying extra food those long stints.

Did you ever reach a point expecting to find water/food only to find this was unavailable? How much emergency reserves did you carry?
No, but came close, sometimes you just need to be a little creative. Racing over the Easter break certainly made things harder as many shops had reduced trading hours. When I say creative, there was one instance when I arrived in Noojee to find all the shops closed and the pub didn’t start food service another hour. This would mean giving up an hour day light to wait for food when I still had another ~60k to ride for the day. Filling up on bar snacks like chips and ice cream wasn’t going to cut it given I was already hungry.  Then I noticed the kitchen hand preparing what I can only guess was to be rice puddings but at this stage was just tubs of rice. So after some surprised looks from the bar staff when I asked to buy some of the tubs, I managed to secure 3 tubs of rice for dinner. It was rather basic but did the job and was better than waiting around for service to start.

As for reserves, I did the start the race with some extra protein bars and zip-lock bags of oats and sugar, which did prove useful across the Nullarbor but after Port Augusta there was enough towns and shops, that with a bit of forward planning would ensure you didn’t run out of food.

Bike and Equipment more generally

What (if anything) would you change with your bike setup?
Not much, overall the set-up worked well. Naturally, there would be some tweaks to the set-up, but I’ll cover this in greater detail in a separate article on my set-up.

Was there any piece of equipment you wish you had/didn’t need and would consider leaving home next time?
No, about the only thing I didn’t use was a small travel towel and a spare tyre. I was always aiming to travel light, so I had put a lot of thought into what I needed. In regards to clothing, instead of carrying bulky warm weather gear I relied on the principle of layering a number of light layers to cover me from cool to cold conditions.

Would you take a bike lock next time, of could you get away without one?
I actually took a lock with me for this ride, and yes I would take it again. It’s like insurance, sure you might not need it, but it does offer peace of mind when you are in a populated area. Not to cast dispersions on Geelong, but for instance, when I went to the Woolworths in Geelong at 2100h, I was sure glad I could lock my bike up.

Navigation

Any issues with navigating the course? Did you have a hard-copy of the route with you in case your electronics failed?
No real issues, I did take a few wrong turns, but this was more due to me not paying enough attention to my nav system, rather than the system itself. I didn’t carry a hard-copy backup and must admit almost came unstuck because of it. Would I carry a hard-copy? Probably not, I would probably look at how I could carry a backup navigation device.

Any part of the course/towns that were more challenging in terms of food/water resupply?
The first half was challenging because of the obvious distances involved, but at least the supply was predicable. The second half was made challenging because of the unpredictable trading hours of the Easter break, which probably more challenging.

 

IPWR Bike and set-up

Firstly a big tip for anyone considering an ultra-distance cycling event. Before you do anything and from the very first moment you start thinking about the idea. Build yourself a check list of equipment you plan to use and then refine it with every training ride you do. Why? Because on the day you start packing to leave, you’ll have a million things running through your head. The check list will be your friend and make sure nothing gets left behind. Trust me on this

The Bike

Right off the bat, my bike set-up is probably a little different to that of the seasoned ultra-distance rider, this is partly driven by cost and part by my race strategy. Firstly I was not willing to fork out for cost of dynohub and wheel building for something I was not likely to use again. Also I’ve read a number of accounts of a dynohub failing leading to the rider to have fall back to charging their devices. So I’ve skipped the failing bit and will look to charge my devices along the way. The downside is I am then forced to find nightly shelters that have power available, so the local toilet block is probably out of question. That said, I don’t plan to ride through the night, so I am carrying enough charge for three day of riding before I need to stop and charge up.

Also the gearing is not standard, no compact crank-set here. My only concession to my standard set-up is an 11-30t cassette versus the normal 11-28t. With a short cage derailleur, the 30t is really pushing the limit, even then back-pedalling while in the 39-30 seems to catch the derailleur. So no back pedalling while climbing up the Great divide, good, got it!

Bike Specifications

  • Frame: 2017 Ridley Noah SL
  • Group set: 6800 Ultegra Di2 11-30t
  • Crank set: Sram Red 175mm 53-39t
  • Wheels: Vision Trimax T42 Clinchers
  • Tyres: Continental GP4000s II
  • Saddle: Brooks Cambium C13 158mm wide
  • Handlebars: 3T with aero bars and Di2 controllers
  • Stem: 110mm Easton 70
  • Bidon cages: Two in the standard location. 2 mounted on the forks. The fork cages will only be used for the longer stints where more is required. Otherwise they will be empty to reduce the aero drag.

Equipment

Tools

  • Multi-tool
  • Vulcan patches and instant stick on
  • cable ties (various lengths)
  • Chain quick link
  • Various Spare bolts
  • Tyre levers
  • Chain Breaker
  • Replacement spokes
  • Chain lube
  • Brush
  • Small rag wipe
  • Valve core remover
  • Emergency boot
  • Pump
  • Tape – wrapped around pump
  • Tubes x 2
  • Presta valve converter – so you can use petrol pumps
  • Spare Tyre – yes at 240g well worth it, as a discovered on a training ride
  • Sealant – applied to the tubs prior to the ride
  • Bike lock
  • Water bottles 950ml x2

Personal care

  • Sunscreen – Seems obvious but remember, this is a check-list
  • Lip balm
  • Anti-inflammatory medication
  • Pain relief medication
  • Anti-rash cream (Bepathan)
  • Insect repellent – in the outback there are lots of things that bit
  • Caffeine tablets – where you’re going there won’t always be a post ride coffee available
  • Toothpaste & Toothbrush
  • Razor and shave oil – personal preference
  • First aid kit – basically some band-aids and beta-dine swabs

Electronics

  • USB wall charger x 2, one of these is a high speed charger
  • Spare 2032 & AAA batteries
  • Ay up front light
  • Ay Up charger
  • Ay Up front spare light
  • Ay-up Batteries x 2
  • Garmin edge 520
  • Garmin varia radar and light – beats having a mirror
  • Wired headphones – I’ve got enough things to charge
  • Heart Rate Monitor
  • Mobile phone
  • Phone holder and case – Personal preference as I will be using my phone for navigation and it up front
  • Powerbank 20000 mAh Qualcomm quick charge compatiable
  • Spot tracker Gen 3
  • Topeak rear light
  • USB cables x 4
  • Garmin VivoActive watch – primarily as an alarm clock
  • Charge cable for Vivoactive

Clothing

  • Jersey
  • Knicks
  • Socks x 2
  • Sun Sleeves
  • Rain jacket
  • Cycling Shoes
  • Helmet
  • Mitts
  • Gloves
  • Leg Compression – Personal preference to aid leg recovery at night
  • Shorts & T-shirt for off the bike
  • Reflective ankle straps
  • Hi-vis vest
  • Gillet
  • Knee Warmers

Other stuff

  • Travel towel
  • Bivvy bag & Silk sleeping bag liner
  • Scrim – A mesh type cloth, useful for many reasons including as a mossie net
  • 2 x credit cards
  • Backsack
  • ID
  • Coins for vending machines

Yeronga Medley 400k Audax ride

In the lead up to the IPWR, the Yeronga Medley 400k Audax ride provided an opportunity to have one more long distance hit out, but this time, with some company

After a short commute to the start, we pushed off at 0600h with 22 riders all doing distances from 110k to 600k. The pack quickly sorted itself out, and I was out front with James Nitz (200k ride) and (Nick Booth 600k).

The ride to the first check point at Yamota at 60km was uneventful and was a quick water stop and sunscreen.

We continued at a good pace but made a few wrong turns. James was doing the navigation, and it appeared his new Garmin 1030 was a bit slow indicating some of the turns. At around 90km, James turned off to follow the 200km course, leaving just Nick and myself. Nick who is preparing for the Oppy was pushing it, I was keeping up but knew I was going to pay for it later. Because Nick was preparing for Oppy stops were going to be short, that was fine with me, and it was good to have someone to keep me honest. There another quick water stop at Boonah for water, but that was it.

We circled Mt Alford, which was a reasonable climb and arrived at the checkpoint in Kalbar (155km). It was here I needed to stop for a break and some food. Another quick stop there wasn’t much time for food, so it was some Chicken chippies, potato scallop and a coke. I did buy a second scallop for the road but gave it to Nick when mentioned he had only bought the one scallop and was still hungry. The offer was half in jest but when he accepted, who was I to say no.

180km into the ride it was getting warm, I was pushing too hard and signalled to Nick to go on without me, I had been struggling to keep up with him since Kalbar. I was on my own now and able to slow the pace down, but the damage was done. The rest of the ride to the checkpoint at Rosewood was tough, and even though I had thoughts of quitting, I’ve done enough rides like this to know that a quick stop and some food would revive me.

I arrived in Rosewood (215km) just after 1400h, just to see the bakery shut and with it any thought of a pie and coffee. The fall back was a raid at the local supermarket for some baked goods, orange, banana and chips. The chips ended travelling with me for another 100k before finally being consumed.

Leaving Rosewood, there was another reasonable climb, nothing too challenging but it was here I started to notice an odd bump in my ride. I checked the wheel but couldn’t find anything so continued. The ride into Gatton was assisted by a tailwind, and I should have been happy about this but was suffering stomach cramps, which was slowing my food intake, and I was feeling progressively worse the longer I went.

Coming into Forrest Hill, the “bump” was distinctly noticeable now. This time I discovered a rather large bulge in my back tyre. My immediate reaction was to lower pressure to see if I could save it. It lasted about another 10k, and on the outskirts of Gatton, I punctured. I was unsure if the puncture was related to tyre bulge but given I was carrying a spare tyre I figured it would be just safer to change both.

Gatton was the next checkpoint at 275km. I stopped at McDonalds for an early dinner and was back on the road by 1700h. It was now cooler, and despite riding into a headwind, I was feeling much better and was able to push harder. Near Atkinson’s Lagoon, I took a wrong turn and didn’t discover the error until I was about the 3km down the road. I considered turning back, but the alternate route was not going to alter the total distance overly, so I pushed on.

The final checkpoint was at Fernvale at the local petrol station; this would be my last stop for the night, it was 2010h. I also found out Nick had passed through here one hour ahead of me. My late supper consisted of a stale sausage roll, a bag of nuts and two energy drinks.

The stop at Fervale was also significant as it was 325k. This distance will be the same as on the first day of the IPWR to Merreden, given it was similar start times, it gave me a good indication of what time I can expect on the IPWR. Without giving away my whole IPWR strategy, I am planning on having an easy first day. I plan to stop early on the first day so I can get into the routine of stopping at around 2000h, resting and then restarting at 0300h the next day. I don’t see the logic in smashing yourself on the first day by riding through the night and getting yourself out of sync. With this routine I am still looking to do 350 – 380kms a day but resting as well, so I manage my fatigue properly.

The rest of the ride was uneventful, enjoyable even. I arrived back at Yeronga just before 2300h. Left my Brevet card on the porch and road home. I thought “This is what it is going to be like finishing the IPWR”. No crowds, no cheering, you just arrive at the endpoint, and that is it. I got home at 2345h having completed 437kms, my longest ride so far.

IPWR Roster 2018

Since the cancellation of the Indian Pacific wheel race, the roster has been a bit fluid. Many names have dropped off; we have some new names and of course, some might still doing the ride but just not tracking on Maprogress.

Below is a list of names I have gathered from the original roster and the names that are on the unofficial start list on Maprogess. https://indianpacificwheelrace2018.maprogress.com/

As a summary, it appears we will have;

  • 47 riders there on start day,
  • average age around 42.
  • Four of six teams are still starting
  • 31 of the original roster are still starting, with five new starters appearing on the list.

If you spot any errors, let me know.

 

Firstname Surname Country Gender First Time Still Racing Age Bike Comments
Lamri Adjis Netherlands M Y
Paul Ardill Australia M N
Mathew Augutis Australia M Y ? 34 Kinises Racelight Crossed off on Map Progress
Kerwyn Ballico Australia M N Y 57 Specialized Roubaix
Chris Barker Australia M N Y 56 Belgie Spirit
Andre Batista Portugal M Y Y 30 Polygon Helios
Haydn Bevan New Zealand M Y Y 43 Specialized Seqouia
Brad Bootsma Australia M Y Y 45 Curve Belgie Spirit
Karlo Bozic Australia M Y
Joshua Burt UK M Y
Paul Chartres Australia M Y Y 46 Focus Izalco Team SL
Vikram Cheema Australia M Y Y 44 Trek Domane 5.2 Starting Monday
Daniel Cooper UK M N
Mark Croonen Australia M Y Y 49 Ridley Noah
Narelle D’Arcy Australia F Y Y 55 Giant Liv Envie
Ryszard Deneka Poland M Y
Juan Diaz Thailand M N
Jessica Douglas Australia F Y
John Duggan UK M Y
Korpol Engtrakul Thailand M Y
Brad Ewings Australia M Y Y 44 Curve Grovel
Ryan Flinn Sth Africa M N Y 30 Curve Belgie Spirit
Tobias Forkel Germany M N Y 31 Giant Propel
Troy Fynmore Australia M Y
Damian Glover Australia M Y
Brett Goodsall Australia M Y
Rupert Guinness Australia M N Y 55 Curve Belgie Spirit
Ben Haines Australia M Y Y 47 Curve Belgie Spirit
Callum Henderson NZ M Y Y 35 Curve Belgie
Michael James Australia M N Y 63 Cervelo S3
Parrish James Australia M Y
Harley Johnstone Australia M N Y 40 Giant tcr
Bernardka Juric Slovenia F Y Y 44 Specialized Ruby Comp
Joseph Kendrick UK M Y Y 27 Dolan
Robert Leslie UK M Y Y 49 Canyon
Matthijs Ligt Netherlands M N
Purdie Long Australia F Y Y
Phil McCorriston Australia M Y Y 37 Canyon Endurace
David McCoy Australia M Y
Laurence Mead Australia M Y Y 50 Trek
Tess Mercer Australia F Y
Douglas Migden USA M N Y 60
Hugh Moore Australia M N
Rolf Moser Switzerland M Y
Naresh Nagabhushan India M Y
Stephane Ouaja France M Y Y 31 Specialized Venge
Su Pretto Australia F Y Y 56
Pawel Pulawski Poland M Y Y 34 Hultaj
David Robinson USA M Y
Sanne Rohe Denmark F Y Y 53 Curve Belgie Spirit
Heath Ryan Australia M N
Chris Savage Australia M Y
Vilas Silverton UK M Y Y 50
Jesse Stauffer USA M Y Y 30 Specialized Roubaix
Claire Stevens Australia F N Y 42 Baum Orbis
Dean Strike Australia M Y
Steven Sullivan Australia M Y
Damian van Loon Australia M Y Y 45 2018 Giant Defy Advanced Pro
Ryan Vecht Australia M Y Y 41 Walty Titanium
Michael Wacker Germany M Y
Daniel Welch UK M N Y 28 Enigma Echo
Simon Wile Australia M Y
Henry Yates Australia M Y Y 18
Andrej Zaman Slovenia M Y
Iban Zapata Australia M Y Y 45 Curve Belgie
Abdullah Zeinab Australia M Y Y 24 Trek
David Barstow USA M N Y 29 Fairdale Weekender New to the roster
Antony Lamb Australia M N Y 55 Trek Domane New to the roster
Tess Jetnikoff Australia F Y Y 26 Curve CXR New to the roster
Shane Beaumont Australia M Y Y 50 Trek Madone New to the roster
Mark Aldous Australia M Y Wheelie Crazies
Warren Nicholls Australia M Y Wheelie Crazies
Vanessa Aldous Australia F Y Wheelie Crazies
Luke Laffan Australia M Y Wheelie Crazies
Jules Noton Australia M Y Bike Nuts
Fernando De Andrade Brasil M Y Bike Nuts
John Dunlop Australia M Y Bike Nuts
Greg Berry Australia M Y Bike Nuts
Myfanwy Peebles Australia F Y 3G1B
Rohan Murray Australia M Y Y Fikas 3G1B
Lauren Benoit USA F Y 3G1B
Louise Soplaint Netherlands F Y 3G1B
Dominic Shepherd Australia M Y Y Double Century
Paul Moore Australia M Y Double Century
Jen Filby Australia F Y Double Century
Luke Jeffery Australia M Y Double Century
Mike Magetti Australia M Y Stranger Than Ficton
Justin Eagle Australia M Y Stranger Than Ficton
Jaye Fatchen Australia F Y Y Stranger Than Ficton
Shane Hayes Australia M Y Stranger Than Ficton
Dan Rankins Australia M Y Viking Overlanders
Michael Ryan Australia M Y Viking Overlanders
Sam Cuninghame Australia M Y Viking Overlanders
Dale Tan Australia M Y Y 44 Viking Overlanders
Elizabeth Long Australia F Y Y 40 Focus Mares Melburn Durt;Also riding Solo
Kate Fowler Australia F Y Melburn Durt
Elise Gould Australia F Y Melburn Durt
Stefania Capogreco Australia F Y Melburn Durt

IPWR training ride

As part of my preparation for the IPWR, I conducted another ride over the Australia day weekend. Being a long weekend the plan was to complete the 820kms over three days over the same course I used the qualifying ride(but complete the loop this time), in the end, I cracked the 820kms in two days. It was a good hit out with some things breaking and some harsh conditions. Ironically I was happy it wasn’t all smooth sailing, it was good to have things break and fall off, to see what needed fixing for the real thing in March.

The significant change for this ride was the removal of the frame bag. In its place, I strapped just the tool case and tubes to the frame, with the rest going into a “day” pack attached to the seat bag. The big upside to this configuration was easy access to the water bottles.

A side on view showing the new configuration

The other was a change of wheels, after destroying the Pro-lite wheels on a decent from Mt Glorious the week before. The replacement wheels, a set of Vision Trimax T42 wheels and overall they performed very well. Combined with some 25cc tyres, they offered a comfortable ride, did not get affected by crosswinds and the aluminium rims provided much better braking than the full carbon Pro-lite wheels.

Day one – 415kms

The day got off to a bad start with one of the new 1 litre bidons ejecting itself before sunrise. I initially thought the bidon was broken, which would have severely hampered my ride. However, it had only come apart. So after scrounging around in the dark, I managed to find all the pieces, and after a quick water stop in Beerwah, I was on my way.

Next, the power meter started playing up. Not critical but for a data junkie like me it was annoying not to be capturing this data. Eventually, I gave up and completely disabled the power meter. After the ride, I discovered one of the Garmin vector two pods was damaged by the chain.

Somewhere near Pomona, about 180k into the ride, the day bag, which was attached to the seat bag fell off but stayed hanging on due to the attached safety strap. Ironically the strap almost caused the bag to swing into the drive chain, which could have been catastrophic.

Just before Kilkivan (266kms), it started to rain, the light rain was a welcome relief from the heat, and I managed to get into town and under cover before the heavy rain started. The heavy rain lasted for about 15 minutes and was a good excuse for a break. I was wet, but the shoes were dry so on balance, I was happy with that.

Coming into Goomeri, I copped a bee sting, a minor annoyance but resolved it was there to toughen me up.

Unlike the first ride, I made it to Kingaroy before dark; I was feeling good and determined to push on. I attribute this to the I was eating and my determination to take shorter breaks off the bike. Also, I believe it was easier because I was familiar with the route after riding it for the qualification ride.

Riding on the country roads at night was a new experience. While I was a little apprehensive, the reality is the roads are quiet, it’s cooler, and you have great awareness of approaching cars. I quickly settled into a rhythm and continued to ride.

I had planned to stop at MaidenWell, but it was only 2000h, and I was on 399kms. Yeah right! I was going to stop on 399kms! So I pushed on.

I arrived in Cooyar around 2030h, and with a storm on the horizon I figured this would be a good place to stop for the night. Being Australia Day, the Cooyar hotel was in full swing, but the publican was helpful and friendly, setting a room up for me and finding me a feed. While I waited for dinner, I enjoyed a couple of beers and did they go down well. All up I was showered, and everything sorted by 0930h and was in bed.

Day two – 412kms

The day started 0230h, I was feeling surprisingly good, the legs had recovered well, and I was on the road by 0300h. I made good early progress riding through the early morning hours. It’s quiet, cool and great time for some personal reflection. But after 2.5 hours I was really tired/sleepy. A short break, some caffeine tabs and I was right to go; it was amazing what a difference it made.

I stopped in Dalby for breakfast; it was still only 0600h so nothing was only except for McDonalds, so a Maccas breakfast it was. Two breakfast burgers, two hash browns and a large coffee. That hit the spot, and with no shops open to resupply, I pushed on.

From Dalby to Cecil Plains was all good riding, cool and a slight tailwind made it easy going. It was a quick resup in Cecil Plains and back on the road. By this time it was warming up and turning east back to Brisbane, it was going to be headwinds for the rest of the day. All up another 250kms of heat and headwinds. The one upside of the headwind, it provided more airflow, I felt cooler for it. So despite the heat, I was feeling pretty good, but it was slow going.

The back roads to Pittsworth were quiet and in a rather poor condition and this is where I broke the left armrest on my aero bars. Another good lesson for the big ride and something that will need to be reinforced to support my weight.

I stopped in Pittsworth and Clifton for food and water and kept going, still feeling pretty good. While the headwind was a pain I had a good tempo going and kept the bike rolling, all the time trying to keep the break time to a minimum.

The last major stop was in Gatton. I was starting to feel it, but with only 100kms to go I was determined to push on and finish. At this point, I had a change in course, initially the plan was to ride home via Lowood but it was getting dark, being unsure of the route and with a low battery on my phone and no map I figured it was not a good course of action. So I ended up riding home via Laidley to Ipswich, a route I have travelled many times before.

So what is the deal with Ipswich? I ride 750kms without being hassled once. Riding through Ipswich in the space of an hour, hassled three times. Anyway, after escaping Ipswich, I was feeling drained or maybe I just slowed down to enjoy the night ride. Either way, it was good to get home.

So what worked?
After experiencing considerable foot pain on the qualification ride, I purchased some new shoes, half a size bigger and softer than my Sidi shoes. They don’t have the support the Sidi have, and it feels like you are riding in slippers, but for the long rides, they worked well and no sore feet.

Brooks C13 saddle, for this ride I changed to the wider 158mm Brooks C13 saddle, and it was simply awesome. After 820k in 2 days, not a hint of saddle soreness, enough said.

For this ride, I dropped the Frame bag, and I have to say it was a good move. I still made use of this space by strapping my tool case and tubes to the top tube. I didn’t need the storage in the frame bag, and it made getting the water bottles easier. However, the day bag idea needs to be refined and easier to access.

IGA and Foodworks. You can get all your supplies at a reasonable price, and most them have hot takeaway food as well. Which helped make for a quick stop.

What didn’t work?
Solar power bank. I discovered too late that if any part of the solar panel is covered the unit won’t charge and even then it seemed to charge so slowly that I am not sure how useful it would be. I ended up losing the power bank because it was poorly attached in an effort to get it to charge. As an alternative, I’ve opted for a power bank with fast charging. The idea being it should charge in 3 to 4 hours while I sleep and not having to worry about it on top so it can charge means the unit can be firmly stored away, so I don’t lose it.

My big takeaway from this ride is not to overextend myself. In part, this was confirmed by reading several blogs about the IPWR and clearly where people get into trouble is pushing on when they should have rested. For the race, I will aim to average 350k a day. I won’t consider riding through the night as I believe a good night’s rest is essential for fatigue management and to allow a proper recovery so you can keep going.