My legs are feeling much better now, after working from home yesterday to let them recover a bit, and I'm even considering riding to work tomorrow.
The ride itself was well organised, and apparently all 2500 cyclists got through without crashes or catastrophes. I felt like I was riding pretty well for the first section of the ride, along the Great Ocean Road from Lorne to Skene's Creek - although it was a lot "lumpier" than I was expecting, didn't they get the memo that coastal roads are supposed to be flat ?
After that was the "King of the Mountain" climb, 9km up Skene's Creek Hill. I enjoyed that, in a strange way - spent a lot of it in my smallest few gears (down to 30-34), spinning away and huffing and puffing, but mostly overtaking people on the way.
It was mostly downhill for the next 20km or so, but somewhere around the 70km mark my left calf and right knee starting informing me that I hadn't done nearly enough training for this sort of thing. It all became a bit of a struggle after that - there were some flat sections around 80-100km, which should have been good cruising time, ideally hanging on to a group of riders, but I didn't have the legs for it by then.
I stopped a couple of times to try to ease the calf, and gulp down some food, and braced myself for a real struggle up the final climbs of the day, from around the 100km mark. Once again, though, I huffed and puffed and still managed to overtake a number of people on the way up, and stopped the clock (for the 110km that was being officially timed) at 4 hours 21 min, average speed around 25.
That may sound ok, but the fastest finishers managed a touch under 3 hours, and people of almost all ages (including some of the 65+!) recorded faster times, leaving me ranked 1123rd overall.
My KoM time was ranked quite a bit better, 660th place there, but my 33:17 time was over 11 minutes slower than the best.
Clearly, my regular commuting gives me reasonable base fitness, but riding no more than 20km at a time doesn't give me enough endurance for 110km (well, 125km in total, including warm-up and neutral sections at the start and end).
Now I just need to decide whether to do this ride again next year, and try for a better time, or try out one of the many other rides around Melbourne and Victoria. And maybe I should throw in some longer rides on weekends, just for fun.