Here we are, race season again….. and still loving my Vaaru Octane 6-4. Over 16000km on it so far and just added new ceramic bearing bottom bracket, chain and cassette, usual stuff.
In March I did my first Duathlon and managed 3rd in age group, although struggled a bit as my fitness levels were a bit low. The Vaaru Octane 6-4 went well. I put some clip on bars on and some Zipp’s and flew. It was great training.
The first big event for me was the Lisbon Granfondo 143km with 1,935m of climbing and I had a feeling it was going to be a fast one! I was feeling stronger and fitter since the duathlon and the bike was looking as sweet as ever!!
This was the first ever Granfondo in Lisbon, so I was very excited to be taking part as I would be the only one on a Vaaru out of 1200 riders, so I’d get a lot of interest!!
The race started with the beautiful Jeronimos Monastery behind us. I was at the front of the race, about 70 riders back. The race would be controlled for the first 20k or so, taking us through the centre of Lisbon. What a great feeling! Crowds along the route cheering us on. Tourist stopped in their tracks as a never ending line of cyclist flew past.
After around 20km, we left the city behind us. As we turned off a main road we hit a 6km climb with around 10% gradient. Now we were free to ride. The front group accelerated, attacking the climb. Straight away I was going anaerobic, trying to catch my breath! I decided to back off, as it just seemed a bit too quick a pace. Looking back, maybe I should have hung on!!
As the front group disappeared I jumped to a group of about 6 riders and we climbed together to the top, recovering.
The terrain was up and down, never backing off, descending at a very fast pace, catching more riders as we increased the pace who had been spat out from the front group.
I felt good, the bike, as always very comfortable and responsive, felt every pedal stroke, producing efficient power through the bike, definitely helped by the AbsoluteBlack chain rings, giving me a lovely smooth cadence.
I felt confident and in control, taking my turn on the front more than most as no one wanted to help apart from two other Portuguese guys.
I broke away on my own a few times, Powering away on cobbled section, putting the power down as the Vaaru titanium frame absorbs pounding.
Just to show how stable the Vaaru Octane 6-4 is one of the last twisty descents, another rider hit my back loosing control. The Vaaru kept its line and didn’t move – I can’t express enough how stable this bike is.
My plan was not to stop for the whole 143k. I had two 800m bottles and some food in my back pocket, eating and drinking regularly through the Granfondo. This had worked as I was feeling good throughout.
The final 20k was hugging the coastline into a head wind. Our group was now at least 30 strong or more. No one apart from the same two guys as before would share a turn at the front. As the end drew nearer and nearer everyone was trying to get to the front for the sprint. I had been boxed in and had to come from the back. I saw the move out on the left hand side and went for it, got away with 3 guys, just getting on to the back wheels, I was forced to go wide, as the sprint to the line had a sharp left-hand bend leading to a 100m to the finish. I managed 4th across the line, a bit of mis calculation on my part, a bit too late, but it was an exciting finish to a great day!!!
With an average speed of 31.2 km/h with a time of 4.36
Average heart rate of 146bpm and max 181 bpm
I managed 40th overall and 2nd in the Masters, very happy the bike was faultless!!!
More adventures on the Vaaru to come!!!