Did my first Gong ride in 1990, then every year for another 4 years or so before getting married, having kids.....
Started up again in 2008 and have kept it up since then. Last year we put up our own team with the guys at work (manroland), had a Marquee at the finish line and some good corporate sponsorship. I signed up as soon as the early entry email went out so I'm hoping for a sub 60 entrant Nr this year. Not sure what team yet.
My Garage = Restored Paino - the "Fixie" - Giant Trance X2 - Azzurri Forza Pro Di2 - GT Avalanche 1 & 2
I am in also, and a couple of mates. We are planning to ride quick and leave at 6am and hopefully ride with the lead group. This may mean a fair turn of pace at the beginning to catch up to them depending on how much we get help up at the start. Welcome to join us if you have nobody to ride with. Aiming for about 2.5 hours ride time. I will probably be in a ResMed Jersey.
Starting at 7am as a mobile support group. You will see me riding my Ti commuter with shiny pump and orange bag on rear rack.
Please waive when you see me.
If you have problems on your bike during the ride, I might have some tools and spares for you.
Happy riding to all and let us keep up the spirit for all MS beneficiaries.
Could get ugly if you're on the road later in the day. Fingers crossed only light rain, packing the gilet and jacket to make a decision at the start line.
Meh, there was flash flooding over your way yesterday and not a drop where I was. It's a long way to the Gong, it's unlikely to rain all the way (aside from which, there aren't too many sections that are more than 5k from a train station).
It rained at the start of last years gong ride. I got soaked riding from home to Nth Sydney to meet up with my team. I had to wring out my socks because they were so water logged.
It cleared up by 7am and the rest I of the day was all sunshine:
'11 Lynskey Cooper CX, '00 Hillbrick Steel Racing (Total Rebuild '10), '09 Electra Townie Original 21D
I'll put up my yearly warning now: please bring along a spare tube or two, the mobile support guys (like me and Rheicel) wearing red jerseys will pump it up with our floor pumps. We do carry tubes, but we'd prefer to use yours. If you do need one of our tubes, give us a tenner to put in the jar at the end of the ride.
Also, if you have a 9/10/11 speed bike, please bring along a quick link or at least a linking pin. Every year I see people with broken chains and while I can pin it back together by removing a link or two, it won't be as strong without a quick link or proper joining pin.
Started late, as usual. Crossed the start line at 7 instead of the 6:15 I was given, took it easy, had a nice ride despite the few numpties, and landed in Wollongong about 11. Muffin stop great as always, no mechanicals, and the fruit stop is always a good spot to sit for 20 minutes and zone out.
There was word late last night of a major accident?
If anyone passed a rider in BNA jersey and socks, that was me.
I had a surprisingly good run considering the heavy cycle traffic out to Sutherland. Started late at 6.30, put the pace on, I found fellow riders were great this year when calling out 'passing to the right' or whatever info was required, everyone moved over to the left pretty quickly. The headwind from the National Park to Wollongong was brutal. I crossed the line just on 9am...it was great to beat the heat. The Powerade at the finish line was outstanding!!
I had a pretty good run this year. I started in the first wave and was on the road by 6:20 or so. Cycle traffic for the first 10k was better as everyone settled down to travel along pretty steadily, rather than the mish-mash of fast and slow that happens later. Two short stops, at Loftus for my muffin, and Red Cedar Flat for water and a quick stretch. Got to the finish just after 10am. Actual riding time was 3:13 - pretty happy with that. Rested for a while taking in the sights then rode back to Sandon Point to meet up with my wife. Wind was up on the return leg making it a bit of a slog. All in all, a good day.
The BBQ put up by Mikesbytes was great while we watched the procession of riders filing past in front of Ikea. Lots of funnies!
Bianchi, Ridley, Montague, GT, Garmin and All things Apple
Did my first Gong ride yesterday. Started later than 6:15 as some team mates were running late. Plenty of cycle traffic leaving at 6:15, most were pretty good at checking and letting people know they were moving out to pass although had a few moments where had people just fly out and nearly collect me. Big Kudos to the people on the road making sure everyone was going the right direction. Will be back next year.
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Damn that return leg!!! 2 cokes, 2 powerades, 2 bidons of staminade, 3 bidons of water, still cramping like crazy once I got to the M7!
Run down was a bit hectic, I was preparing to ride with the MIA Peloton but a poorly timed bathroom break and pickup of the number meant I missed the start by maybe 2 minutes. Proceeded to take off from the BP like a scalded cat. Anyways, realised by Rockdale that MIA wasn't solely riding as a group, so I continued to hunt for some MIA guys I knew. They were fast, so punching through the crowd was the order of the day. I had gently pulsing memories of "be careful of the hubbards" and a growing sense that I was in fact that person because I was eating up the bunches going through all the lights. Eventually ended up at the front of a big bunch for a few kilometres setting the pace and no one was trying to pass me, and copped a "jeez are you going to slow down?" as we coasted down Kingsway or Bestic. I waved them through at 45kmh, but it seemed that the CCCS (Casual Cycling Club Sydney?) guys behind wanted to be difficult and not create the rest break I wanted. (more on them later). Anyways, they were mixing it up with me until 5kms from Waterfall.
I picked up a group in VMWare kit and a guy in a yellow tiedye shirt, and we rolled from Kingsway until the end, some turns, some not. Very strong riders, and had a great time setting a big pace. Very safe group, made my day. I chipped a dude who cut in on us down the RNP descents then proceeded to relax big time on the first ascent out. He was in club kit, he knows how to take corners, and by golly I wouldn't want to test someone else's cornering skills on an open road like he did. Yellow tieDye shirt said the same thing about another guy that bombed in.
Anyway, had a cracking run up the climbs, and I don't think many people passed me. But... the RETURN. and the AERO WHEELS. The crosswinds were absolutely brutal, down to the Gong it was OK because they clearly picked a course that everyone could handle, but during the return I just struggled to control the bike. Ended up wheeling the bike home the last 400m because I couldn't trust the gusting. Could barely keep the bike straight going "almost" directly into the wind (seriously?!). Concerned for my life down Heathcote Road, multiple times slowing to a crawl to ensure I had control of the bike. The bike feels much less controlled descending 50kmh with the cross wind than 25.
Anyways, I think the return was summed up like this - Mt Keira Road was blocked off, and the entrance to the M1 at that point says no bikes. GAH. We had to go up Bulli Pass, 3.5km of 8+%? The flat bits were only 6%, no shoulder, huge 2 foot deep gutter on the final 12-20% 1.5km ramp? I stopped 2-3 times, it was at least as bad as Bowen Mountain and I only had the 23 cassette with the compact. Way out of my league - I seem to cope with climbing like the RNP well, but proper mountain work is beyond me.
Anyways, got to the top and CCCS guys are just behind us. Got a confirmation that they weren't talking crap, they were suffering at the wheel. Good on them for attacking Bulli. Riding isn't always about competition with others, they knew they weren't going to set the fastest time down but they were doing their best. Nice guys, and I'd hope to see them on the road again. They had a cool kit too
Last complaint. I swear to God that we were riding into a brutal headwind the whole way back in all directions, or I was fighting a crazy crosswind. I can deal with the heat. I can deal with the climbing. I can deal with the distance. I was at my limit with those things alone. But the dodgy roads combined with that wind just made it insane. I like my sexy aero wheels but I didn't think I'd have to walk home because of them!
210 for the day. 2.5kgs lost. 360 dollars raised for MS
That was you guys? I was wondering about that setup. My first thought was "why would anyone do that? are they hoping to sell bacon and egg rolls?"
Yes, Mike came up with the idea. Free sausages were offered but no one stopped. We had a good and filling time though. Sausage, bacon, salad and you name it!
Drop by next time!
Bianchi, Ridley, Montague, GT, Garmin and All things Apple
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