1 November 2015
Cyborg Does a Bikey Thing
Spring is a very busy time in Canberra, marking an end to the cold, dark winter in a flurry of bright, vibrant colours and warm, sunny days. And, just like the thawing inhabitants, event promoters also rev up for the warmer weather. October is a particularly busy month, with events such as the Scott 24hour, Fitz’s Challenge and the LifeCycle - not to mention club races, fortunately they’re all quite different flavours.
And the LifeCycle is certainly different. In fact, it seems to have been different every time it’s been run! The first time I entered, it was a 48 hour lap-based race. The next time, it was down to 24 hours, and included a regional ride, where a small group of riders would take to country roads around Canberra for a few days. This year, it was a day of riding, or the regional ride. I suspect the board of the Leukaemia Foundation were looking to raise funds and (probably a rider on the board) said, “Hey, I know, let’s do a bikey thing, they always make money!”
I have entered almost all of the LifeCycle events that have been run, missing the inaugural event in 2011, and have enjoyed them all (not least of which due to my casual attitude to what is, for the most part, a casual ride!) With 48 hours to just go and do however many laps I have felt like, I’ve turned up on the first day, done one or two laps, then gone home only to return the next day and do a few more (if I felt like it). There’s no pressure to do laps, and no real reason to burn yourself out. But I’d never really hung around too long, or taken it seriously.
This year was a bit different. While I had intended to just turn up for a lap or two, I wound up staying for most of the day. Maybe it’s because I’d entered more road rides, such as Amy’s Big Canberra Bike Ride and Wild Horizons’ Rock ’n’ Road. Maybe it was the promise of coffee, pizza and cheap massages. Or maybe it was just it was an awesome day for a ride around a lake that was looking very picturesque.
This year the event had been shortened, down to about 10 hours, providing riders with the opportunity to do laps between 8am and 6pm - so you could potentially squeeze in laps before mowing the lawn or, if you’re unfortunate enough to have to work weekends, after work. The regional ride was run again this year too, with riders being able to take on as many legs as their legs could take. But this started during the week, which ruled me out.
The lap-based event had two different laps: the short, 5km bridge to bridge lap (Kings Avenue Bridge to Adelaide Avenue Bridge), which is flat and relatively easy, but also quite densely populated on a bright Spring day; and the long course taking in a circuit of the West Basin. The long course is undulates over 22 very scenic kilometres. Either lap doesn’t take you too far from civilization should something go wrong, nor are they too far in case you decide you’ve had enough and just want to head back and hang out at the hub.
And the hub itself is very tempting - with live music later in the day, a few stands (pizza starting at 12:00, coffee all day, and beer on tap!)
I started lapping with maybe 20 other riders at 8 in the morning - about four of which were from one family consisting of two parents and two little children! Did I mention it’s a pretty casual ride? With Fitz’s Challenge on the next day, all the serious riders would have been resting their legs. I did about two long laps, before stopping for an excellent coffee and chatting to the event photographer for a while.
Then I headed out for another two laps, eventually succumbing to the siren call of the volunteers at the western-most edge of the lake who were offering me snakes. We had a nice little chat, which started me thinking about pizza, with about 10km more to ride! Needless to say, I knocked that off in record time, and made it back for pizza.
I had considered calling it quits after the pizza, but it was such a nice day, I thought I might just do another two laps. Then, for some reason or other, I just thought I’d do one more! By this time it was about 3.00; the wind was starting to pick up, and I was starting to develop a few aches - half way around I decided this would be my last lap.
On my return to the hub, I noticed there was no queue at the massage tent, so I asked the masseuse to loosen my neck. Somehow, merely with the press of a few fingers, he had released my neck, and I felt like I could go around a few more times! I had a coffee to think about it, and checked out the live results, to find I was up near the top. A few more laps would most likely put me on the podium!
But that’s not what the LifeCycle is about. It’s about raising money for a great cause, and having some fun. And I certainly had some fun! So I decided to get while the getting was good (and it was too late to mow the lawn anyway).
I had a great time at the LifeCycle, and look forward to doing it again next year. I highly recommend it; after all, it does tick a lot of boxes (casual ride, pizza, beer). I might even look at doing the regional ride next year (if they have pizza).