SA

MOUNT LOFTY CHALLENGE 200/300 18-5-13

13 starters at 6.30am on a cold clear morning for a 200 or 300k brevet through the Adelaide Hills with the penultimate controle 

at the Mount Lofty Summit (185 or 285km).

200km: Scott McCann; Andrew Kennedy; Peter Schulz; William Griggs; John Chappell; David Fairweather; Michael Schell; Graham
Stucley; Oliver Portway

300km: Matt Rawnsley; Richard Scheer; Ben Del Fabbro; Ray Cockram

 

Various minimum temperatures were reported by riders at Hahndorf on the outward journey, the lowest 0.9 degrees. By the

time I reached MurrayBridge about 10am, the layers were starting to be removed, and the afternoon sun was perfect. This ride

again attracted ideal May weather.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First food break and controle is McCues bakery in MurrayBridge, a great spot for communal break, wide choice of food and

plenty of tables. And important for audaxer's, other facilities on premises! All riders on tour gathered here, except Scott who

left the start at 6.50 and completed the day with a similar deficit to the other 200’s as he had started the day.

From MurrayBridge the 200's split for Palmer Hill, most leaving McCues together. Andrew rode with the pack after MurrayBridge

but knowing he wouldn't stay with them once the climbing began dropped off the back and arrived into Palmer relaxed for a

short stop to consume some fruit he was carrying. He took it equally easy up Palmer hill and through Tungkillo, arriving in

Birdwood at 1:30pm, just as most of the others were leaving.

Andrew enjoyed a hot soup for late lunch and answered the questions of some older tourists about how modern pedals work

(they were not aware of cleats etc). On leaving Birdwood I got a fleeting look at Scott McCann arriving, perhaps the only known

sighting of Scott for the day.

Andrew is a strong determined rider, but after Birdwood continued to take it easy up the climbs to Bridgewater, Crafers and Mt

Lofty then a good run down Greenhill to finish at 5:17pm. All the remaining 200’s had finished about an hour before, and Scott

was a further 30 minutes behind. But all well inside the time limit.

Andrew’s comment after the ride: “The earlier start (6.30am instead of 7) and slower pace meant I could enjoy the day and eat

well so I achieved my objectives. It was also good to see another Baum rider and I hope I didn't put him off by not being very

talkative as we rode along side by side in the group. Perhaps I have gotten too used to riding alone and letting the mind drift as

the miles pass - it is almost meditation.”

 

Meanwhile, from Murray Bridge the 300's crossed the River to Walker Flat before eventually climbing Palmer Hill also.  Leaving

Walker Flat (155k) the road then followed underneath the one mean looking black cloud in view, and a small rain shower

followed - more cold than wet though.

While we rode along Ray was telling us how someone had pointed out that his frame was twisted, but he didn’t know why. A

seemingly innocuous story or a premonition of things to come. We had an impromptu lunch break in Mannum 188km. Cheese,

Chocolate, Iced Coffee. Fuel to go...

Approaching Palmer Hill 10k down the road, and Ray Cockram was talking of abandoning, having forced too quick a pace earlier

in the ride, the mind overriding the body (or perhaps the other way around). I tried various bribes of encouragement, but no

takers. My argument was get over the hill and into Mt Pleasant then make a decision.

Ray was in our rear mirror as we were approaching the summit of Palmer Hill, and I thought this was encouraging that he had

found his own pace, and holding steady rather than dropping back. Unfortunately as soon as we disappeared out of view then

things went pear shaped big time, a moment of fatigue driven inattention saw Ray hit a rock on the edge of the black stuff.

The result of this saw 130 psi of air escape - no big deal.  However the consequence of clipping said rock also caused the already

twisted frame to crack at the junction of the chain stay and bottom bracket. So he spent four hours at the summit awaiting

rescue, using a small lighter from his toolkit to start a comfort fire, then finished the last piece of fruit cake. Meanwhile Ben

and I were surprised Ray didn’t show in Mt Pleasant and figured he had short cut the town to take the direct way home.

It was cold coming out of Mt Pleasant Hotel (Stout #1) 216km, preparing for riding into darkness. Spectacular sunset and even

more spectacular cloud forms over the Murray Plains to the East. Thankfully it warmed up a little, so it seemed. A quick hello

from John Del Fabbro through Birdwood and we continued on our way.

Everyone in the Nairne Miller Arms Hotel 260km welcomed us, however Ben and I were the only ones there so it was easy to

deal with the crowd. Stout #2 and now the psychological part of the ride begins - the climbs of Germantown Hill, Old Mt

Barker Road and Crafers-Mt Lofty.  Took it fairly easy, traffic was good.

Summit restaurant 285km still open 9pm. Collected the somewhat inappropriate Tassie Devil stamp (I see nearly everyone got

one), and had a nice chat with policeman there, who knew of Audax riding, commented on our lights, and generally supportive

of what we were doing (Fortunately he didn't "see" Stout #3, but it was pretty chilly up there).

We had an uneventful but cold run down Greenhill Road, no cars passing on the downtrack (yahoo) and as always the best

night time descent view of the city. (Mental note, the GT series ride might need a slightly delayed start to get most visitors

down here after dark for the same experience).

Finished at BP Stepney 9.53 with Ben in tow 302km. Picked up three ks against the Ride with GPS map between Summit and

finish! Guys behind the counter always happy to see us through final controle, having already processed the 10 finishers ahead

of us.  Then pizza and bed - was looking forward to Giro alas coverage began too late for me!

A challenging course and distance at any time of year, but in May it is the cold that can get you. It is important to have enough

warm gear that is light enough to carry when it is not required.

Congratulations to all finishers, Cold Start, Great Day, Cold finish, even for all 200 riders I suspect. Special thanks to the first
time Audax starters who came along.

And if you’re reading this and wishing you’d done it, the ride will be back again May 2014!

SA Upcoming Rides

Sat 25 August
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