Monday, September 29, 2008

Spring means Magpies

I'm on leave from work for a couple of weeks and this means riding a lot, I've set a target of 500kms for the next couple of weeks, which doesn't sound like much but I also want to spend some time with the kids.

So this morning I was up earlyish and hit the road about 7.30am for a quick fifty or so. Took my normal northerly route for a while and then turned south into an increasingly strong south westerly that changed the day from beautiful to woeful. The wind was great training but the coming rain was just wet so I turned for home to come up with 43 km and no real hills for the ride. What hills there were though were taken at speed! Tomorrow I'll climb Keira if its not raining as forecast. So far I've clocked up 170 ish kilometres.

Anyway, while it was a beautiful spring morning, its pretty clear that the magpies are nesting and enjoying their territoriality. 3 times I was clobbered this morning, and while their pecks landed on the helmet and not my ear, the sharp crack of attack still takes a bit of getting used too.

Now in preparation for the Alpine,
I have Mt Keira x 2
Macquarie Pass x 1
Mileage in Kilometres = 3044

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Fitzroy Falls Cafe ride

Took part in the Fitzroy Falls Cafe ride yesterday, which marked my first anniversary of Audax as well as a number of other milestones.

It was a very nice day, quite warm and a challenging ride. I hadn't been riding very much of late, recovering from the flu , and the hills yesterday were challenging, however its a very scenic ride and the food at the fitzroy falls visitpr centre is terrific. Just Richard and me on the ride, Greg started with us but he was training for the GSR and took off in search of kilometres after the 50km controle.

The ride up was hard and gave me a migraine (literally) but the return was excellent (mostly down hill). Disaster struck when flying down Macquarie pass the back wheel deflated - I was able to control it and stop safely - though my first puncture on the Roubaix - at 800km!

The remainder of the ride was uneventful except for the unwelcome return of the Magpie opposite the Illawarra Grammar School hill.

Now in preparation for the Alpine,

I have Mt Keira x 2
Macquarie Pass x 1

Mileage in Kilometres = 3000

Monday, September 1, 2008

The Tahmoor 200

Rode the Tahmoor 200km brevet on Saturday (30/8) with the Mongrel’s. It was a great ride, with a good group of people, terrific scenery, great weather (obliging winds) and puncture free for everyone!

We massed at Dapto station for the start at 7am. Quite cold but clear so I was optimistic about the day. Quite a few people had lined up for the start, there were the usual suspects, Henry, Richard, John, Greg, John, a few people down from Sydney and Yugo and Tom up from Canberra.

The route was a large loop pretty much like this one on bikely , taking in the challenging Mt Keira climb, country roads through the western villages of Bargo and Tahmoor, Broughton Pass, and undulations to Bald Hill and the sea cliff bridge and then a scenic run for home down the coast and around the bottom of Lake Illawarra.

We left after a slight delay at 7.10am and right from the start things were looking pretty good for a good day. It was still and cool and the early climb up Mt Keira was rewarded with scant traffic and the sight of a Lyrebird running along the side of the road. We formed into two groups and made a fast ride down Picton road. Travelling in the second group with Henry and Greg, we caught the front group who had stopped at the freeway turnoff as John cranks had come very loose and they didn't have an 8mm hex. John had just had a new chainring fixed earlier in the week and he was less than impressed with the result. Luckily Greg's multi-tool had the right size and we were off together as a group (Note to self - get a multitool). The first controle (53km) at Pheasant’s Nest was reached in 2.5 hours which given the long climb was a pretty quick fifty.

From the controle it was a fast pace line from the freeway to Picton through Tahmoor and Bargo, before the hills coming out of Picton saw us split up a bit. Nearing the 80km mark and the cramping zone I backed off and settled in to spin the next 20 kilometers to the control. Turning off the Picton road at Wilton, I found myself in fresh terrain and enjoying the countryside down towards Broughton Pass.

(Broughton Pass)

At a couple of points on the way I could smell a sweet perfume and looked around to see a carpet of Freesias lining the road. I stopped at the foot of the pass to take a couple of photos and then began the steep climb up and out and then the seemingly endless undulations to the second controle at Appin Bakery. I was the last to arrive but was happy that I had made it through the “danger zone” without cramps.

After a quick lunch of sausage roll, salt tablets and powerade we headed off again up the long and grim Appin/Bulli road before turning onto the old Princes Highway across the environmentally “special” Bulli tops towards Hellensburgh and Stanwell Tops. A Northeasterly headwind began to pickup as I grappled with the undulations (surely I’m at the top now!?), before turning south at Bald Hill and the familiar territory of the coast road down to Bulli. I arrived at the Controle a “Marsbar” bite behind the others with only 50km to go and five hours before the cutoff.

(Henry on the Appin Road)
The northeasterly breeze was now quite a strong wind, but with it in our backs we made great time down the coast route under darkening skies. Lights came on as we turned around the bottom of Lake Illawarra and rode across back streets before rejoining the Princes Hwy at Albion Park and the last 5km back to Dapto station into the wind. As luck would have it I pulled into Dapto at 5.10pm, turning over 202 km on the odometer, just as it started to rain gently.

The Tahmoor ride was a great day out and it was terrific to see and meet some new riders from further a field. The route is terrific, challenging and scenic and takes in some of the best parts of the Illawarra.

Now in preparation for the Alpine, I have

Mt Keira x 2

Mileage in Kilometres = 2833