Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Coastal 200 and Berrima 200 two down on The quest for a Year Round Award

One of my goals for the coming year is to complete a Year Round Randonneu (YRR) which requires that you must complete a brevet of 200km of more each month from November to November.

With that goal in mind I have so far successfully completed the Coastal 200 permanent as my ride for November and this past weekend the Berrima 200

The coastal 200 is a double loop ride from Dapto to Otford and Dapto to Kiama taking in a few of the more invigorating climbs on the seaboard side of the Illawarra escarpment, notably Bald Hill and Mt Terry. I'd lined up a fellow YRR hopeful in Ben and as the ride date coincided with the Strava 79 Mile challenge another local Audaxian, Shane joined us for part of the second loop.

We started riding early with a 6 am start at Dapto. The weather was warm and humid but presented pretty good conditions for the day so we set off only to find that Railway track works had close a critical part of the early route and we were forced to return along our route and take an alternative path.

Otherwise the first 100kms passed smoothly and I was enjoying sampling some homemade trail putty and sharing it with Ben. At the first controle I discovered I had left my ride wallet at home when leaving, so had no cash or cards on me luckily Ben is a generous guy and bought me a coffee and on the return leg we were able to deviate to my place and collect the wallet which turned out to have fallen from my saddle bag in the garage.

As we returned to Dapto to start the second loop we rode over the freeway overpass at Figtree and enjoyed the sight and sound of the Camp Quality Truck convoy. A bunch of truckies get together to raise money for a kids cancer charity and put on this convoy of over 600 heavy vehicles every year. It's quite an awesome sight. Soon after leaving Dapto we were joined by Shane who had planned to come with us to Kiama and then head further south in search of a mountain.

The weather conditons were changing however, it was getting hotter and windier, and we encountered very strong gusts from the North east on our ride out to Kiama, especially on the apex of the climb over Mt Terry.

We fragmented under the conditions but soon regrouped in Kiama and feasted at the Headland cafe before saying farewell to Shane as he turned south and we turned north by northwest into the teeth of the prefrontal wind - but on our homeward leg with only 50kms to go so spirits were high

It was a hard grind back, both hot and windy and we found little relief from either along the route, the effort took its toll. Riding into a headwind is the equivalent of riding up a hill, however you don't get the sense of achievement of reaching the top or the rest during the descent so you must "find a gear" and get on with it. We eventually made it to the end of the brevet, and in pretty good time considering the late conditions so enjoyed a brief rest at Dapto,  but we both had another 12km to go, into the wind before we were home so before long we were back on our bikes, heading back into the wind to get home.

Those last few kilometers where character building to say the least, however the ride was completed successfully, as was the Strava 79 mile goal and then some and the beer afterwards tasted just fine.

Not long after we arrived home a powerful southerly change arrived, and we were sparing thoughts for Shane who we imagined was still out there riding towards his goal. Luckily he was nearing home but encountered very strong gusts approaching 90kph as he neared the end of his ride.

Berima 200 to be continued...

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