More News and ride reports

The Two Day Loop 600km Permanent - 25 & 26 January 2013

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by Gary Baker

Just a year ago Kim and I, on a tandem, did our first 200 km Audax and the challenge of those long road kilometres began. The next challenge was 300ks around the central west and then it was time to attempt a 600 kilometre event. The Two Day Loop was eventually settled on and so, after two months of training here I was at Waitara Avenue 4 in the morning with 600 k's to go.

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When you come from dead country roads, the hotmix of Pennant Hills Road and the M7 to Camden felt fantastic and the average was looking good. First stop McDonalds and coffee was great. It had been a long time since I had ridden through the southern highlands and the challenge of riding over Razorback was a daunting thought. But the training laps of MT Panorama were kicking in and it was great to see KOM signs on the road as you reach the top. Next I was to head off to Robertson Pie shop where it was impossible to miss the good opportunity of pie, coffee and coke. The day had well and truly heated up with a head wind and the temperature was now into the 30s, so fluids and fuel were always on the agenda. At the Exeter checkpoint there is a quaint shop where late in the afternoon another cold coke satisfied the thirst and I was able to push onto Thirlmere for tea. I had planned a half hour rest here, but 10 ks out of I felt the bump bump bump of a flat back tyre. Off the bike, fair to say a little disheartened and tired but buoyant enough to fix it and get going towards tea which was shared with Kim; pizza and chips.

It is now time to put the night riding training into practice and head off to Richmond through Wallacia, brief stop for fluids and food then through Penrith to arrive at Richmond around 1 am. Yes this is my biggest ride so far and all I could think of was where did all these hills come from! But I made it. Shower, bed, 4 hrs sleep and it is time to go again.

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Kim sees me off and I head off to Pitt Town. It wasn't long and the head wind came up and the day got warmer. It was great to be riding through the Wisemans Ferry region, a place that I had ridden through for a number of years when I lived in Sydney. However, I had forgotten about the rolling hills. Finally I arrived at Spencer for coffee, a cool drink, muffin and then to the next big climb. It was here when trouble struck. On a hot and windy day I ran out of water. The situation was made worse to find that the shop at the top was closed and water was now a necessity after the amenities tank water was dirty and undrinkable. That situation was resolved through the help of another local shop a few k's down the road.

It was now down to a few hours and home was on the horizon. Three big climbs to go with some downhills to improve the time. Hot mix again. Legs were feeling tired but Ok and the mood was elevating with every kilometre closer to Hornsby. Calga, then Mooney Mooney out of the way and only Brooklyn to go. Riding along I could only motivate myself thinking thoughts like: stay focused the training will get you through. Suddenly it was Pie in the Sky and around twenty k's to go but there are still rolling hills to get through and it is just after 7pm. A great cycling mate of mine has coached me to know that in situations like this a time trail was what I need to do (A 'Windsor time trial' as I call it), and I should add that the wind all the way down the old Pacific highway had finally turned to a tail wind. Head down, legs going and the k's passing until it was 5 kilometres to go and I knew I could make it, which I did at 7:48pm. There it was, Hornsby Police station, total time was 39 hrs 48 minutes for the whole ride. Close, but I was in, within the 40hour limit. Actual ride time was around 29hours 10 minutes.

In summary, it had turned out to be a hot windy 600k's with many challenges from very dead long, dragging roads to steep hills and continual rolling hills. The scenery is fantastic once off the M7 and into the Southern Highlands and the Wisemans region. The personal challenge is worth it, as it is a ride that will test all aspects of your training.

Thank you Howard for creating the ride and offering it to those of us who wish to experience the challenges of Audax riding.

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