I also made breakfast a light affair, given the minute (49km) distance to cover for the day. The turnaround in my psyche is amazing. I used to consider a 60km event an arduous challenge and now I am looking forward to the 3 peaks challenge in March (>200 km in a day over 3 mountains).
The ride today was tres enjoyable. i was out before most of the schools -a nice change- and was trying to perfect my skills riding as part of a pack. Alas, each time it was my turn to lead I accidentally left the others behind. I need to work on some consistency and lose the 'chase and overtake, chase and overtake' mentality.
It was incredible to see the seedlings (or new branches, not sure which) of the old burn out gums regrowing after Black Saturday. Unfortunately my camera battery died about 4 days ago and my phone isn't good enough to get right up close to show you what I am talking about. But the new growth has wrapped itself up around the burnt out trees, in most cases all the way to the top, and it is amazing to see the bush regrowing faster than the community inside it.
It would have been terrifying to have been there at the time, worse than terrifying actually. Ranges on all sides ablaze with nowhere for you to go and flames moving faster than cars.
Riding across the finish line was a massive rush of adrenaline. The town turned out to cheer us through and the realisation that I had actually done it. You realise why my 4999 co-riders do it year in, year out. To set yourself a goal and achieve it. After 8 days of butt busting hills, unforgiving descents, rain, mud, people tripping over your tent in the middle of thhe night. To cross that line and know you have beaten your mind, and what you previously thought to be the limitations of your own body, it's too good for words. I did have about a 20 minute long period where all I could think was 'Now What Should I Do??' with my legs ready to carry me at least another 30 or 40k!
So the question is...what next???