First longer ride since the Opperman 24 hour and while I have been trying to ride frequently, weather, work, family commitments and health have been working against me.
I did however feel excited about this ride and was anticipating it all last week. Prepped the bike with a new rear tyre (Continental 4000) and new mount for the D'Lumotec. Weather was looking on the cool side, but no rain (Hooray!). Did I say cool? maybe freezing.
Set off at 7am as planned from Dapto, group of 7 and made reasonable time to Picton. Climbing Keira I could hear the Lyre Birds singing to each other which was lovely. Coming down the Picton road I felt the cold as the sweat of the climb quickly breezed off in the shadows.
The wind had sprung early and strong from the Southwest which wasn't such an issue to the first Controle, but really made a difference on the second 50km. After a bit of confusion looking for a "lost" rider at Picton (I was leading the ride and felt obliged to clarify his position), I fell behind the pack and was left to force my way into the sou'wester on my own. Insult soon turned into injury when the wind chill and effort induced my old friend the thigh cramp when attempting to climb Mount Hunter on Boragorang road.
I dragged myself into the Oaks, periodically stopping and walking up the steep bits, eating salt tabs and sucrose buttons and anticipating a call to Sue to come and pick me up. I bailed on the last 200 and felt regrets afterwards so coming into the Oaks I thought to apply Greg Lansom's philosophy of only pulling out at the controle. Thirlmere was only about 15km away at this point so I stopped at the BP servo, got some water, had a bio break and ate some protein. Refreshed I set out anew thinking that I would ride in my time and not worry about the others.
I did catch up at Thirlmere and followed the main group up towards Hill Top and Colo Vale and the long (Fast!!) descent to Pheasants Nest for the penultimate controle and refreshing burger. Slogging back up the Picton Road at dusk was a memorable experience. I had ice flung at me from a passing mini bus (missed wankers!) and saw and heard a number of wallabies crashing through the scrub.
Th descent down Keira in the gloaming was slow, but catching up with the bunch at the Highway we sprinted back to Dapto sitting on 30ish k/hr. A fine way to finish a 200km brevet. Richard and I turned to ride back home so that made 230km ridden for the day for me.
I was really happy with this ride, not just because I finished in difficult conditions, but mostly because I changed the way I was thinking when things were not going so well. I've been riding as much as I could have these last few weeks, but I've also been working on the way I think and the thinking part has improved a lot.
I got on the old(slow) bike on Sunday and did a recovery ride of 20km. A great weekend.
Mileage in Kms 2239