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Wisemans Folly November 2012

by Ian Garrity

Saturday 24th of November 2012 saw the inaugural running of the Wisemans Folly 200 and 300km rides. We tried to run it earlier in the year, but that coincided with some heavy rain and an overflowing Warragamba Dam that flooded the riverside roads the route takes. So Wisemans Folly 2.0 saw 15 keen young things all ready to ride from Dee Why to Wisemans Ferry and return – all within 200km as there were no takers for the 300km option.

The 200km option climbed up behind Dee Why to Forest Way and then along to Hornsby and onto the Old Northern Road via Berowa Waters to Wisemans Ferry. The River Road provided a scenic way back before returning to Hornsby using the dreaded Galston Gorge and heading back to Forest Way, where a cunning left turn took riders to Oxford Falls over possibly the worse known road surface yet found in any first world country. A final loop past Narrabeen Lakes saw riders returning to Dee Why and finishing at the beach and hopefully having a nice coffee and saying complimentary things about the ride organisers and their choice of route...

Howard and Bec (who one might think might have been suffering Audax overload what with GSRs and 200km rides every weekend and the like) had graciously agreed to help christen our ride – which had a slightly unfortunate route for them, since it passed within 100m of their apartment at Waitara twice during the course of the ride. Which could be handy if you wanted to swap bikes or have a mid-ride shower and shave, but otherwise is probably just annoying, as you are either 25km from the start or the end of the ride, depending on time of day. Howard was promising to ride with Bec all day and would just be taking it easy... Well, 6.00am rolled around and everyone was ready to start, except for Mr No Show, so I waited an extra 10 minutes just in case... which turned out simply to be a waste of 10 minutes. Special mention, at this point, must go to Calum Findlay who bravely turned up to tackle his first 200km on an old mountain bike that was making quite a protesting noise from the bottom bracket. Seeing everyone else ready to go on road bikes of various descriptions did get him thinking about the possibility of perhaps getting a new bike, but he wasn't too worried about the immediate task at hand and reasoned he had all day to do it in.

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Bananas... the ultimate "pocket food"

After wasting 10 minutes of my life, I started after the others and saw Bec just before Forest Way – heading the opposite way to me with Howard strangely nowhere in sight... Seems she had a freewheel problem that turned her bike into a 30 speed fixie – an interesting concept, but not one that had much appeal for the remaining 190km. Conveniently, the ride passed very close to her home so she could do a bike swap – but inconveniently the keys to this home were not in her back pocket, but were in their car, back at Dee Why. So Bec had a hill repeat coming up... Calum was met on Forest Way and he seemed happy enough squeaking and clunking his way to Wisemans. I caught up with Katherine and we rode out to Wisemans with Tom Carment for company, just missing the ferry at Berowa that the riders ahead of us caught. The Old Northern Road is not too bad a section of bitumen as there is a shoulder for a lot of the way, and it wasn't too busy with cars. At least I thought it wasn't too bad – we passed a sign that alerted us to the fact it was only 11km to Wisemans and, at the precise moment I thought "Ah, only 11kay to go", Katherine said, "Bugger, we've still got 11kay to go!"

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Riders fueling up at Wisemans Ferry

Wisemans was duly reached, Howard was spotted and he was informed of Bec's freewheel problems. He decided to wait for her, as did Katherine and I. Calum turned up while we were waiting, so he wasn't really making too bad a time at all. After an hour and a half, three coffees and some Howard photographs later, we were all reunited with Bec for the ride along River Road and home. The River Road remains one of the best cycling roads in Sydney and didn't disappoint – as per usual. Our route took us back through Hornsby (and past Howard and Bec's place again) down some back streets of Wahroonga through streets with huge houses on huge blocks of land the roads continued the theme by having huge potholes – one of which I managed to ride through and get a pinch flat. I expect the 4 wheel drives of the locals just cruise through them normally...

Back through Oxford Falls on Morgan Road and Katherine, Howard and Bec wasted no time in telling me they didn't like it very much at all. "I haaaated that last part", Howard informed me after the ride. Still, the end was near and Dee Why beach was duly reached at 5.20pm. Everyone else (baring Calum) had finished and gone, but the four of us had an early dinner and hung around for a bit hoping to see Calum finish. It started getting dark at 7.20pm and, with no front lights, we thought we'd better go home. We missed Calum by 20 minutes and he finished in exactly 13 hours and 30 minutes - so nothing to spare! I think he was a bit disappointed there was no one there to greet him after his epic ride – so apologies for that Calum!

All in all, everyone survived and we had no terrible dramas, so hopefully this will become a permanent ride on the audax calendar – cross the fingers!


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