With 3peaks on this weekend’s horizon there is naught to be done but enjoy the laziness of the taper and get the kit sorted before the big drive.
Unfortunately, a solid month of bushfires in the lead up (and consequent road slips and countless downed trees) has forced a change of course. Instead of the great southern loop over Hotham and finishing up the evil “back-of-Falls”, a northerly loop is on the cards, where Mt Buffalo substitutes for Hotham, and the “front-of-Falls” finishes the route off (shallower 20 and 30 km climbs respectively). I’m a little disappointed as on top of the new course definitely being a notch easier (part of the allure is doing something really hard), it will be more difficult to gauge where I am relative to last year. Although I don’t have much off-the-bike fat to trim re stops etc, I still reckon I might have bettered 9:09 with a sub-9 split. In any case I imagine many entrants will breath of sigh of relief.
Despite a wet month in Sydney, most of the mob are in better condition this year, especially Ham, who has actually been doing some training. Gerard is back, fit and injury free. Smarty will be attempting the big loop for the first time, as will Andrew, both having made a solid effort to get back on the bike and be ready. And then there is Chris, recently elevated in Strava-space to “Lord Christopher K”. The arrival of twins slowed him down, but that pause seems to have been an anomaly. One of the benefits of living with a Strava addict is getting the nightly scoop on who’s doing what. LordCK has essentially made the M7 his bitch, and owns pretty much every inch of its 40 km length, hence his new title. That's quite an achievement given the number of people who ride it, being one of the few safe cycling havens in western Sydney, particularly in the wet. So while the rest of us have been snoozing to the patter of persistent rain, LordCK has been pounding the pavement; sometimes kicking off at 5 am (he has a two pretty good alarm clocks) and slamming out 120 km before the rest of us are even sipping coffee. I think we’re all in for a caning come the big day.
And lastly, I’m very happy to report that Greg P has made remarkable progress over the last week. After 2 weeks in a coma he painfully-slowly regained consciousness over another week. As of the weekend when I last visited he was fairly switched on and, although still with the inconvenience of a tube in the throat, was asking me about the changes in the 3peaks course (of all things – somehow he found out), and has regained most of his idiosyncratic facial expressions of old (including on his LHS, which was absent earlier). The tracheotomy and all extraneous tubing should be gone by now, and he will start undergoing physio to get all the limbs moving properly again. Still a long way to go, but looks like he should be capable of making a fairly good (if not complete) recovery. Fantastic stuff.