Well, it has been a while since I did a proper blog update, but the next few will hopefully make up for my being quiet.
As many regular readers know, last week I participated in a charity bike ride from Adelaide to Geelong. 800+kms over 6 days. This post is about the lead up to that ride.
Living by the beach on the NSW South coast has loads of advantages. Not living in Sydney being one. Sadly for me, the airport is in Sydney, so on Thursday, 20th September, I headed off up to Sydney to catch my fight to Adelaide. No forgetting bikes this time, it was an uneventful trip up to Sydney. After browsing the the long term parking web sites the night before, I decided to park the car at a mates place and chance a taxi ride of about 10kms in to the airport. As long as each trip was less than $100 I would be in front.
I parked the car and called a taxi, asking for a station wagon so as I could get the bike box in. About 20 minutes later the taxi arrived. After a struggle trying to lower the back seat, we were away. Taking absolutely no notice of his GPS, it was a pretty long route to the airport, which didn’t exactly contain a flowing conversation.
Fare paid, it was off to check in, dump my baggage and wait for the flight. As usual I got a window seat. If we are going to plunge into the ocean or a mountain, I want to see it happen. Luckily for the person that might have had the middle seat, they didn’t show up. It would have been a tight squeeze between my chunky shape and this big unit.
The flight was due to land at 14:55. I was reading and wondered what the time was? 14:53. And this was the view out of the window.
You beauty, the pilot was going to point the nose down and kamikaze dive into Adelaide. Yeehaa! Little did I know that wasn’t going to be the case. I loosened my seatbelt when he came on the blower and told us we were now starting our descent in to Adelaide and would arrive bang on time, 14:55 Adelaide time. Damn timezones had me mixed up.
Carl was waiting at the airport in possibly the only Hyundai in the world with a bull bar. We drove back to his place where V was waiting with a smile and a cuppa. I unpacked some stuff, then we spent a bit of time putting the bike back together for the ride in the morning, up Norton Summit.
V was cooking a terrific Moroccan chicken dish with preserved lemons, couscous, home made flat bread and salad. It had been a while since lunch, so it went down very rapidly with a cold beer.
It was then off to bed after a long days traveling.
Friday morning we headed out for a hearty breakfast before we tackled Norton Summit. Bacon, eggs, toast, tomatoes, mushrooms and some coffee.
I had to make a few little adjustments to the bike on the way. No matter how well you pack the bike, it always comes out with a bump or two. Given the fact I have seen baggage handlers just shove the bike box off the trolleys, it is little wonder. I would be battling derailer issues for the next week. We got to the base and there is no way you don’t know where you are.
It is odd. I really expected it to be more rural. The start is still in amongst the houses, but it doesn’t take long to get out of the suburbs. You climb for a bit over 5kms. And some of it is steep. Here is one section. That is Carl ahead of me in the video.
I make it to the top in just under 21 minutes. Carl goes sub 20 minutes for the first time. It is a terrific climb. Would love to get back there one day and crack 20 minutes. We wait at the top for V and catch our breath. We decide to descend the way we came, go into the city than back to Carl’s along the river bike track. That decided, the descent begins. It isn’t long before I hear a truck coming up behind. I will let the video tell the story. Be aware, there is some fruity language near the end, just after the truck slows and fails to indicate.
From their it was a rather speedy cruise into the city, or around the city, I’m not sure where. Then we ended up in some park where the V8s race. Carl told me it was used as a crit track and it was a Strava segment. Lead on McDuff. Off he went, with me in tow. You’ll see what happens in the video below.
Carl and V then showed me where they do CycloCross, with Carl climbing mulch hill on his roadie. He tried to get me to do it, but there was no way I was going to risk a fall just a day out from the big ride. We cruised along the River Torrens back to their place for a lazy afternoon. I realised at this point that the Garmin had gone into convulsions and corrupted my ride data! Carl finally half fixed it and it is that data you can see below.
Friday night I went out with a group of mates to the Coopers Alehouse and ate one of their enormous chicken schnitzels. It truly is a huge meal. The boys from Adelaide suggested my biggest problem would be echidnas. That might explain a photo later in my trip. A couple of pints of cider and it was home to bed. When I say bed, I did have a play around with all the gizmos and gadgets I used on the trip to see if I could get it all working.
Saturday was a very lazy day. An early cruise into the city to get some compression tights and a cycling cap.
Part of the run along the river. People might now understand why my cycling buddies call it “the noisiest bike in the world!”
All that was achieved and it was back to the local cafe for another coffee and a bit of a lazying about before I went out to dinner with the guys from the ride. There was a shopping trip in between, but nothing startling happened, apart from me buying super expensive thongs!
Carl dropped me off at the caravan park that Tony and Wendy were staying at, and I met up with Gary, Ashley and John. We had a leisurely stroll down to the pub, which in brand new thongs, wasn’t the smartest move I have ever made. A big feed of pasta and a couple more ciders, can you see a pattern forming here, and we watched as the local went from agony to ecstasy whilst watching the AFL finals. We bid Gary, Ash and John good night, and it was a walk back to the caravan park, in those damned thongs, on a very breezy and cool night.
When we got back to Carls, the pins were a bit tender, so I thought I would give the compression tights a try.
Compress they certainly did, and not just your legs. I was wondering if I was going to wake up with the anatomy of a Ken doll if I slept in these things. Sleep, my nemesis for the next few nights. I tossed and turned that Saturday night, nervous about what lay ahead. 855kms in 6 days. It was going to be a big ask.
Next post will cover the first two days of the ride.