More News and ride reports

The Cowra Weekend 29-30th September 2012

Ride Organiser - Malcolm Rogers

It's difficult to pack the right gear for a ride that starts with sub zero temperatures whilst sweltering in temps in the mid thirties!

Day 1: Options 100/200/300km

6am start for the 200 & 300km riders with the 100km group following an hour later.

We traveled down from Sydney the night before through a torrential downpour which started in the Blue Mountains and continued throughout the evening and early morning, stopping only an hour before the ride started. Malcolm had organised a group dinner at the Imperial Hotel in the Main Street. Great food, local wine and splendid company. This set the tone for the rest of the weekend.

The temperature was -2 C at the start and the roads were sodden, but our spirits were soon lifted by the site of canola fields in full flower, radiant in the early light. The clouds looked less threatening now and there were even glimpses of the sun every now and then. Everyone rode together as far as Grenfell (54km) before fragmenting into smaller groups. The course remained the same however for both the 200 and 300km groups until reaching Eugowra (124km).

The majority of riders chose the 200km option, whilst the 3 GSR hopefuls chose the 300km route. This was to be the last ride of this distance for Tim Hancock, Bec Morton and Howard Dove before heading south for The Great Southern Randonnee. Conditions remained fine for the most part with winds fresh to strong at times and a few rain squalls.

Originally this ride was supposed to be unsupported. However, we were chaperoned by 2 Audax VIPs... more on that later.

The rides were a great success with everyone completing in good time with only trauma damage reported from the victims of multiple magpie assaults.

Cold start, but the heavy rain stopped just before the rides began

John Martin assists Tim Hancock, Garry Wall (Vic), Graham Jones and Bec Morton in Grenfell

"Cow Pat" road repair. Hang on tight guys!

It's not always safe to wear the Audax colours

Bec Morton enjoys the last rays before the night time journey - it's already cold!

Day 2: Options 200/100km

A fresh group of riders fronted for the start of the 200km route. This was the same course as the day before. All riders were also successful in completing in good time.

The 100km group were a combination of fresh riders and those who rode on Saturday. The course was challenging, climbing up the Darbys Falls Road to reach Wyangala Dam. Although we'd covered less than 40km the group were in a casual state of mind and took in refreshments at the kiosk. It was just as well because riders arrived an hour before the pub's opening time at Woodstock (we can say we were there man!) the only business in town.

On the road to Woodstock - We were there man!

We all pressed on, reaching Cowra in time for yet another "session" at the Imperial Hotel for lunch. Everyone completed the course in good time.

This was a long weekend (Labour Day) in NSW and Malcolm had arranged another dinner on Sunday night, this time at the local bowling club. Guests of honour were the Audax VIPs I referred to earlier, local residents of Cowra, John and Aileen Martin.

John (then from WA) became a life member in 1998. John and Aileen completed PBP in 1987. Aileen became the first female Australian to do so. Her account of the event and the story of her struggle with a cracked pelvis, sustained just 5 weeks before tackling PBP, can be read here. It first appeared in an article for "Push On" in December 1987. Aileen trusted me with the original mag for a couple of weeks.*

Three generations of cyclists including guests of honour John & Aileen Martin

The next day (Monday - Labour Day) Katherine Bryant, Ian Garrity, Bec Morton and myself were invited to morning tea at the home of John and Aileen. Aileen expanded on her PBP experience, whilst John showed us his certificate of life membership that still had pride of place in his home, framed and hanging on their dining room wall. I noted that one of the signatures was that of Opperman.

John's Life Membership still has pride of place at his home in Cowra

Aileen Martin (PBP 1987), Katherine Bryant (PBP 2011) and Bec Morton (PBP 2007/2011)

John and Aileen had spotted an article about the event in the tourist newspaper "Discover" that covers the whole of Central NSW. From that moment on they were determined to help out. They see it as giving something back to an organisation that they were once a big part of. John and Aileen have already contacted Malcolm to secure their position as support crew for next year. It was a great pleasure to meet John and Aileen and an honour to be served by a distinguished ancien and ancienne.

The Martins: Aileen (first Australian Ancienne 1987) and John (PBP 1987 and life Member 1998)

*I noted there was also an article by Neil Irvine (I know you're tuned into the Audax chat list Neil) about the 1987 (3rd) Opperman All - Day Trial and PBP 1987. There was also a promo for the Mulga Bill's Wallaroos & Wombat Bike Centenary Ride that I'd taken part in and a call for interest to traverse the great divide all the way from Victoria to the cape in Queensland by Russell Moore. I was trying to cover as much of Australia as I could by dirt roads and tracks and happened upon the group near Carnarvon Gorge, where we spend a little time together in 1988.

I big thank you needs to go out to Malcolm Rogers for making this great weekend of riding and social events possible. Thanks also to Marja, Malcolm's wife, who has helped riders over many years.

The Cowra weekend is already on the calendar for next September and John and Aileen are waiting to meet you there.


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