Another Saturday, another 200km brevet! Or so it seems - so far this month I have ridden a 200km every weekend, starting with the Tallowa dam ride over easter, Sackville scamper last weekend and Windellama yesterday.
As luck would have it I was attending the Innovative Ideas Forum at the National Library on Friday so the opportunity to spend the night and catch the ride in the morning was too good to resist. The 200km was a straightforward out and back to Bungonia, starting with the riders who were doing the Highland Hop 400 who were riding out to Robertson (nearly home).
Watching the weather during the week I knew I would need lots of layers for the start and when I arrived at the Sutton community hall in the fog and the dark at 5.15am at about 6 degrees I knew I was right. One critical flaw in my packing was forgetting my headband/ear warmers! Luckily, if slightly comically, I was able to use a clean explorer sock which reached from ear to ear and was just thin enough to fit beneath the helmet.
As the riders assembled I was surprised by the number of recumbents - 4. I had never ridden with a recombent before and they immediately made me feel tall, and fast on hills but then very slow down them and along the flat. Such was the nature of the group that I soon found myself alone riding at my own pace. I stopped at Bungonia for a coffee and then riding out in the fog I saw Kerrie-Ann stopped with a puncture. She was fine and I road on to Tarago to briefly pass one of the recumbents - Andrew i think - who has stopped for adjustments. A little further on I was having some navigational difficulties when Andrew cruised up and set me straight.
I watch him slink off into the distance, occasionally I would gain a bit of ground on hills but his speed on the flat was a good 3 - 4 kph faster than me - for less effort too. Coming up the 80km mark, the fog had lifted and I paused at the top of a hill to switch off the lights and peel off some layers. Kerrie- Ann caught me up and she paused to describe the next part of the route and explain the secret controle at the turnaround in Bungonia. She rode on while I topped up my perpetuem and then we regathered at Johnno's general store. Later I met Greg Cunningham who was also riding the 200km.
I set off for the last outward leg to Bungonia, a mostly downhill undulating ride to complete the secret controle and then ride back up. Going down I was passed by a couple of riders who were heading back.
Coming back up I passed Greg and Alex(?) another recumbenteer who were heading down. The climb was not too troublesome, what went up, must come down and the generally undulating nature of the countryside lent a nice rhythm to the ride. Riding from Tarago to Bungonia without the fog I passed some massive windfarms which were hardly turning at all. I could see that with a wind this ride would have a slightly different character and prove very difficult.
One last obstacle presented itself between Bungonia and the car, and that was the climb up Smiths Gap. The descent earlier in the day had been wonderful, so the climb probably wasn't. The reality though wasn't too bad. It was steep, but short, quite like the Bald Hill climb.
The final leg up Macs Reef Road was shorter than it seemed on the way out and despite a near miss with a truck overtaking me on a bumpy downhill run (me hanging on for dear life - the truck not respecting it), I was soon back in Sutton at 4.20 notching up one of my quickest 200s. I also felt really good and could have ridden a lot further, so the fitness is improving.
Next weekend I'm hoping to ride in the Central Coast 200km, which will give me 4 BRMs and 800 BRM km for the month taking me to 1400km of BRMs this year. Just over half of the qualifying total for PBP.
This morning I have stripped the Roubaix down and given him a good clean and lube. He looks fantastic now.
Mileage in KM = 2562