Powercor’s Bruce Trew knows exactly what it’s like to race the epic Powercor Melbourne to Warrnambool Cycling Classic. Here’s his 2019 race summary in his own words.
So how does a 48-year-old club level rider prepare himself for the longest and arguably most difficult race in Australia? Mostly with a fair degree of trepidation! To say that it was daunting is an understatement. Stepping up from the longest race on my calendar @94Km (TOB) to 265km with a few hills thrown in for good measure (1700m of climbing), highlights the challenge for riders like myself. And then there’s the added bonus of starting with the elite riders, which guarantees a start that would be challenging for an hour criterium let alone the additional 200 KM’s on route of the “Warrny”.
My training was crammed in after a x-mas holiday softened me up and left me with 6 weeks to tune up. 300km weeks were a standard, but that is about all a working cyclist has time for. I managed two 200 km rides to hopefully build the required endurance and plenty of short interval hill work to prepare for the first 50km where six hills lay waiting. This was always the worry as I really didn’t want to get dropped too early.
Race day experience in this historic race is as good as it gets for someone like me. Starting with 250 riders going at 50km/hr out of Avalon with full and exclusive use of the Princes Highway was something I’ll never forget. I managed to get through the hills (just) only to get dropped shortly afterwards before working with a solid chase group back to the bunch when they let a break go at around 90km mark.
M2W is more than just the distance. It’s the need to prepare your own support team/feedbags/drinks which is the only race I’ve done where this is required. And then you need to find your feeder amongst all those riders. Always a nervous time in the bunch. The race needs a lot of planning, you need to build not only fitness and conditioning, but energy supplies for possibly up to 8 hours of racing.
The race itself pushes you to your limits – both physically and mentally throughout the 6-8 hour journey. In an event like this, cramping can be extreme and I battled it for 150km. It was probably at the 200km mark when I knew the finish was within my grasp and whilst reaching limits of fatigue, the excitement and reward of finishing the event was in my mind. To cross that finish line and know you’ve done all you can and celebrate with your friends and family is what sport is all about. A lot of hard work but so worthwhile. With a bit of Luck I will line up for another start in 2020.