Saturday, December 8, 2012

Jamberoo, it's where you control the action

Indeed, to quote the popular amusement park, though action is relative I guess.

Earlier this week I proposed, in a Tolkienesque manner to a few likely suspects that a climbing of Jamberoo mountain road was in order.

It's the last of the local escarpment passes to wear my name and as an AAC preparation was non pareil. Early enthusiasm was dampened by reality so only Harvey and I set out at 6am this morning to tame the beast.

The climb start about 30km from  my place and the approach includes some very familiar roads plus the added advantage of going over Mt Terry and past the action park before turning off Jamberoo Rd onto Jamberoo Mountain road.

Having driven up the road a few times to walk at Barren Grounds and reversed the climb on my bike a couple of times I knew that it was steep for the first few kilometers and defficult after that.

As we approached the first steep section, Harvey climbed away from me, hunkered down over his machine, churning the gear while I settled into a conservative rhythm, aiming to keep whatever I had after Mt Terry in reserve.

The first ramp of the climb goes on endlessly and straight so you can see the reality of what's ahead.  Harvey started to flag and nearing to s bends on the steepest section pulled off and dismounted. Having found my rhythm I was slow but steady and feeling good continued on, lest I fall off and tumble back down.

The road relents momentarily, letting you catch your breath then rears again at a sharp hairpin, which I chose to take very wide, but after that it was OK, relenting to an easy in saddle spin with the occasional steep grunt.

After the Abbey and the few hairpins up from there, I reckoned from my previous drives and descents that I was nearing the top. The terrain started to flatten out and I saw a sign for Barren Grounds NP and realised I'd made it. Going through the last tight curve, an oncoming car looked familiar so I smiled in the gasping for breath way I do on a climb and soon glided into Barren Grounds turnoff, where I decided to wait for Harvey and relax a bit after the effort.

Before long the familiar care returned to say Hello, being my work colleague Viv and her husband Norm who is a keen mountain biker. They had been holidaying in the area and had spent the morning at the Illawarra fly to see the sunrise. Viv recognised me so we had a nice visit before they set off and I started posing the bike.

Before long Harvey hove into view, though he had succumbed to the steepness of the climb and was walking the last bit. After a brief rest we moved on and I realised that there was still more climbing to do before we reached the top of the road and the lookout. We stopped there any way. The view was grand.

From there, we still had a couple of hundred meters to climb along undulating terrain and a long drag up to the pie shop before we could call the ride topped out. It was hard going at times, quite cold, before we could see the Pie shop and say goodbye to the climb. The pies were delicious.

From the pie shop it's pretty much all downhill so we made short work of the pass (another traffic free run for me) and returned via Marshalls Mount and the highway to town.

100kms for me with about 1400m of climbing and a major climb under the belt, one which has been psyching me out for years, so a good day on the bike. In the last few months I've ridden every escarpment pass nearby (excepting Bulli pass) so am feeling increasingly confident about my climbing.

Next month will bring on the Tallowa dam 200 as well as the AAC, and I'm feeling quite comfortable with them after today.

Mileage in Kilometers = 5941

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