I've just completed the around Lake Taupo bike race, and all my cycle racing friends are obsessed with my time. They are amazed that it took me 8 hours and 45 mins to ride over 38 big hills on a 160km course where only 40kms wasn't a gale force head or side wind. Frankly I'm very proud of that time., I'm not a great hill climber but I paced myself so that I never had to stop or walk, and I only put my foot on the ground three times- once to fix a mechanical problem, and twice to have a drink from the drink stations.
It has been 20 years since I last did the race, and it has changed. It used to be about ordinary people who wanted to be challenged by a long ride, but now I think every racing cyclist in NZ was there and hardly any ordinary people. All you hear about is the top times and the records that were broken. I believe it's the people who rode unicycles the whole way around, or the kids riding it with their father, or the 79 old woman who completed the solo loop of the lake that made the event.
In the 20 years that I last did the race, my body has also changed. No matter how much riding you do, you will never be as strong as you were 20 years ago. And a 54 year old woman will never be as strong as a 54 year old man. I feel like saying to my cycle racing friends - could their mothers or wives ride 160kms in gale force winds over 30 big hills? No? Then stop asking me my time because it's irrelevant.