Saturday saw the second running of the Berry Mountain 200. A few riders from Sydney plus a few from Wollongong, meant that the second run would be more populated than the first, though both inaugural completers i.e. Shane and Me were back for more.
The weather forcast had been looking good for most of the week leadin gup to the ride until thursday when strong westerly winds fetured in the forcast. They were supposed to abat during the day, so we set off from Dapto, gritting our teeth into a cold wind but optimistic that it may slacken off during the day.
The first control after a hard slog into and a pleasant run with the wind saw coffee cups blow off their plates and bikes crash over, further on we experienced wild pushes that sent us off line but it was all part of the day.
As we pushed on the group moved ahead towards the mountain as one, though I was feeling the effects of the cold and dropped back, happy to plug away at my own pace.
I soon found myself at the bottom of the climb of Cambewarra Mt, after catching occasional fleeting glimpses of cyclists in flouro ahead. Starting the climb I stopped to remove my outer shell and fiddle with the new EO gear saddle bag which was proving tricky on its first run.
Plugging up the climb I was getting hotter so stopped again to remove my beany and quietly giving up hope of catching the rest of the guys.
The climb was long and steep and the false flats between Mt Berry and Cambewarra Mt seem long and hard in the wind. When I arrived at the control I found Barry and Geoff the sole riders. Seems I was the 3rd one in, but how? Everyone else was in front of me...
Soon Shane and Dale hove into view having missed the turn and gone passed only to swing back.
After a short break we continued on and enjoyed a rare descent of the mountain without any cars up front or behind and soon found ourselves sloggin along the flatlands south of Nowra across the wind into Greenwell Pt. It was hard work and we were glad to find the cafe at the end of the point for lunch. Well some of us were :-)
The return leg had us facing back into the wind en route to Nowra before turning with the wind for a very fast passage out through Bomaderry and along 7 mile beach road. before stopping at the penultimate control at Crooked River.
I hung around to see Shane roll in at about 3.45pm and with heaps of time up our sleeve we set off for to cover the remaining 50kms. Shane had beene xperiencing some gearing problems all day so was travelling conservatively and I soon drew away over the hills.
Stopping to switch on lights and don vest at Kiama, as the sunset and temperatures dropped I was soon cocooned in my lights and tapping away for the finish. I made one wrong turn up a freeway exit, but managed to loop back down and continue on to Dapto without any further misadventure.
It had been a challenging day but I was glad to be out and commencing my preparation for the SM1200 in November.