Well, I did it! Apologies for the long summary but here goes...
Headed out at around 7:30 up 'new' NS, as I wanted to try and beat the Livestrong ride - didn't feel confident merging with a big group on my first time and with limited riding experience.
I had done a bit of recon before - drove up and also a bit of Google Earth - so knew roughly what to expect.
First switchback I was most worried about but that went fine and then I pretty much kept a steady pace and focused on my breathing rhythm all the way - spinning kept my legs in tact but still obviously hard going. I wanted to do the 'time trial' to give myself a gauge as to how well or poorly I had done but I lost track of the time on my basic computer and the markers (other things to concentrate on!) and about 3/4 up fell behind 3 guys taking it relatively easy.
Not confident enough to pass them (and not safe to do so in parts) I hung back about 5 - 10 metres behind them and just kept the same distance for a good 1 or 2kms. I figured not having done it before, if I passed them and then subsequently cracked further on I'd look like a bit of tool so I took it easy and ended up with an average speed around 13.5km/h the whole climb.
Quick breather up near the pub then straight ahead taking the right onto Woods Hill Road . Didn't realise it was so steep - hammered up the first bend just to get through it and when it levelled out I stopped again for a quick drink. At the Greenhill turnoff I went left and into Uraidla before turning back again and home down Greenhill.
Not many cars and no other bikes descending around me. As a bit of a woos I rode the brakes much of the way down, keeping my speed to around 25-30km/h. Absolutely freezing and bloody windy and with minimal pedalling action on the descent I started to get a bit numb but all in all, I survived and made it out of the woods in one piece.
I think I'm well and truly hooked, superb conditions apart from the numbing cold wind coming down Greenhill but descents are definitely going to be my weakness until I overcome the fear and learn better control.
Thanks to all for the tips!
Good work dude. Hills are the best bit of cycling. You will get the hang of both clothing (to keep warm) and decending. I took up cycling as a runner as well, 2 knee reco's and getting older and sore after a run (used to do 12km at a time or run up Waterfall Gully) led me to the change. I was intending to keep running here and there. You can really push yourself on a bike in a way that is hard to do running and not pay for it with aching joints etc like I used to. Haven't run for a couple of years now and the body is much better for it, no knee aches in cold weather etc. Also cycling is so much more social.
It will be interesting for you with the new pursuit to see what balance you strike. All the best.
Certified Brand Snob
Due to other committments, didn't get to go for a ride on Sunday till 5pm. Headed up to NS and rode up there in bliss. On mty way up, no one went past (car or bike), saw 2 cars, 1 scooter and two cyclists going down.
It was brilliant, as it was quite as, and no magpie swoop
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