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Announcing - the route for next year's February Ride.
The 2015 February Training Ride
The Pepper Hill Parade
What is it?
The 2015 three day February training ride held over the long weekend is on the 7th, 8th and 9th. The bunch ride/s is/are a training/endurance ride for cyclists a bit like a Fondo but in a bunch format. It is not a fund raising, charity or profit-making venture for anyone. It is about riding in new and different locations in a normal bunch ride environment. You choose (and cover) your standards of accommodation and there is no commitment required on your part – basically like any bunch ride.
This will be our fourteenth edition of the February Ride so we have been having fun for a while now. This year we have another challenge, or series of challenges, for everyone. The basic plan for this year is that we meet in the main street car park in Campbell Town (next to the park opposite Banjo’s and Zum Cafe) (101 Midland Highway for map searchers) at 8:30 each morning and go for a bunch ride.
The February Ride is a bit of a challenge for most and this year, with the start in Campbell Town it is within early morning driving distance of most of the state so you can choose to tag along for one day or all three depending on your level of endurance. You can choose to drive to the start point each day or stay in any one of the variety of accommodation in Campbell Town and surrounds.
Each year the format for the February Ride changes to some degree and this year we have a bit for everyone. There will be the usual variety of distances available for riders to choose according to their choice or level of fitness. There will be a variety of rides available on each day with the idea of all starting together and riders self-selecting where they want to go on any one day.
Normal bunch rules around regrouping etc apply so we will be catering for all levels of riders with an expectation that riders will understand their own capabilities – again just like any bunch ride. What we generally find is that some riders will have already mapped out their variations so if you are hesitant about the full distance or speed required there is likely to be a bunch organised that will suit you.
How does it work?
The annual February bunch ride is a chance to get some solid miles in the legs in good weather in good company. In previous years we have done trips down the East Coast, up the East Coast and back, the South Coast on mountain bikes, Queenstown and back, Strathgordon, the central highlands and around the State a couple of times. In 2014 we based in Sheffield and did some serious hill climbs with a combined 400kms and 7,000 metres of climbing. This year is a bit more about long steady climbs – apart from the legendary Pepper Hill. For those choosing a single day there is a variety of challenge rides to choose from and for those doing multiple days there is a series of rides that will test you.
Our ride is very loosely organised. Again, just like any bunch ride, you choose what and how much you want to do. There is usually a good range of rider standards so there is usually someone to ride along with. I just set the daily start and stop points and riders work out what they want to do in between. Some ride all the way – some ride part of the way or on some days only – your choice.
You bring yourself, your bike, your spares, and organise your own food and accommodation whether that be for yourself or with others. If you cannot make the whole journey that is fine - as long as you sort out your transport side of things – again just like any normal bunch ride.
Whilst that is the basic level of administration there are a variety of layers involved. Some riders may want to share a lift and some may want to share accommodation. As we go through the process I can help with putting you in touch with others with the same needs. You can then sort it out with them.
Saturday the 7th to Monday the 9th of Feb (the 9th is Royal Hobart Regatta Day).
As many riders as would like to come along are welcome to join in. As you can see there is no great administration load for me and you look after your own costs. Since the first ride in 2001 we have had between 10 and 25 riders along. Over the last few years with the increased challenge factor we had upwards of 20 on the road most days.
Sat 7th: Campbell Town – Avoca – Pepper Hill - Fingal – Campbell Town 150km
Sun 8th: Campbell Town – Swansea – Campbell Town 134km
Or Campbell Town – Swansea – Bicheno – Campbell Town 200km
Mon 9th: Campbell Town – top of Poatina Hill – C/Town 160km
444 or 510km
Saturday morning sees us going about 12km north on the highway for a short stint and then east on the St Marys Road for 56kms to Fingal and a coffee stop. Left (north) on the Mathinna Road for 2kms and then left on the B42 for around 11kms will/ should find the Pepper Hill climb – known from past editions of the Tour of Tasmania where riders would be walking up the ‘rise’. Stop walking and start riding again along the undulations as we skirt our way under the shadows of Ben Lomond. Another 34kms gets us to Avoca for another coffee stop. From there its 38kms back to Campbell Town for around 150kms for the day.
Starting at the Conara junction would make the journey 126kms.
Just the Avoca Fingal loop is 75kms.
Sunday is a challenge day! South for a click and then left (east) to Swansea for a coffee after 67kms. Back we go and the challenge comes at the Bicheno/ Campbell Town turnoff. Turn back to Campbell Town for 134kms for the day – or continue north over Cherry Tree Hill to Bicheno for another coffee. Then back to Campbell Town for a lazy 200kms for the day. On a nice day this is a tough ride.
The climb up to Lake Leake and back is 60kms.
A turn before the descent down to the east coast would make it about 90 kms for the day.
Monday is one of those iconic ride days. A ride through more beautiful Tasmanian country and up a hill as well. What more could we want? For those with two days riding in their legs this will be a good tester.
North for 2kms and then onto the C522 west for a left onto Poatina Road after around 50kms. From there we climb the little hill up to the top of the Tiers which is about 30kms more. In amongst we’ll have a stop at the shop in Poatina.
The shorter versions for the day are either staying on the flat and turning early or driving to Poatina Road for the climb up the Tiers.
There is plenty of accommodation available in and around Campbell Town at a wide variety of standards and prices. For the campers the nearest park is Ross which is 10km down the road and I think there is a free park on Bridge St but not confirmed yet.
As you can see from the itinerary the location of coffee shops is a prime consideration when picking a route so there are plenty of options to get food on the trip. For breakfast and evening meals the choice is yours. No doubt we will gather at the local pub of an evening to recount the many adventures of the day. We’ll sort that out on the day.
All the costs are up to you. This is probably why the ride has continued for so long.
If you change your mind the day before the ride the only problem you have is if you have booked accommodation already. Similarly if you decide on the day before the ride starts that you want to come along the only issue is your accommodation and transport.
Whilst there is generally no administration there is always administration!
The resoundingly common first question I get is “how many people are coming?” The second question I get is whether there is someone of their standard riding – to ride with.
To deal with those questions I keep a private list of anyone interested so that I can keep in contact and answer any questions as they come up. The list is private and I send out an email to those on the list in a blind copy. There is no commitment expected from anyone – if you turn up all the better – if you don’t we’ll have a good ride anyway.
I also keep details on the Bicycles Network site at bicycles.net.au in the forum section under “Tasmania” in a blog called The Pepper Hill Parade. I’ll keep that up to date with as much info as I can
So – if you are interested, or want to be included on the update list, you should send me your email details and what you are expecting in terms of involvement. I will send out updates as we count down to start day. If there are any questions feel free to contact me by email or give me a call.
That’s it for now. I doubt the routes or dates will change between now and February so you can start working on your training plan now. If there’s anything you need in the way of information you can find me on the contacts below.
Dale Carney ph 0400985333 email [email protected] BNA PM at "BenevolantDictatorD
Dale, you can make the post long, and the ride seem impossible
Those who did the 2013 ride are now immune to your sadistic masochistic plans.
We look forward to the ride, and thankyou for the planning effort again.
I had a look at the Pepper Hill climb yesterday. I was going to ride it - but reasonably happy I didn't.
I drove the course with particular interest in the Fingal/Rossarden/Avoca leg which is incorporated in the Saturday ride. Generally the whole ride will be an ideal bunch ride with the vast majority of it being relatively flat and therefore relatively easy to keep the bunch together. And then.... After Mangana the lovely cruise through beautiful quiet countryside comes to an abrupt halt with an innocuous sign indicating a bit of a climb coming. I drove it the first time and didn't believe it so I went back and did it again. The first time the Jackaroo needed second gear but I did better the second time with a bit of a run up and just made it over the top in third - a bit like the way I ride hills!!
The climb is in the order of 2.2 to 2.3kms long. After the first couple of hundred metres at a gentle 10-12% it settles into what looks like 15-16%% with some stretches that look a bit like 18%. For those looking for a similar hill I would think the steep part of Brinktop would be the one. Perhaps a much longer version of Gellibrand Drive or something like Glen Lusk although I haven't been up that one for a while. The pinches are probably akin to Napoleon St.
After the Hill is conquered its back to nice undulations through to Rossarden and then a glorious long long descent back down to the river - the last 5kms of which is good quality dirt road. This is going to be a memorable ride. Those who are only doing the Saturday ride might think about doing an amended route of Avoca/Rossarden/Fingal/Rossarden/Avoca. That would have the legs buzzing by the time you get back to Campbell town.
No other good news to report.
More of a Waterworks climb I would say - seemingly unpleasant.
You are a born salesman BDD.
I recall reading about this hill in "Australian Cyclist" magazine when I was a teenager. A dirt road, and sandshoes in back pockets, have stuck in my mind.
Its now early October - that means only four months to the "off" better start thinking about doing some training
Mmmm. Long rides.
Eight weeks to go.
For those not available for the full three days - Campbell Town isn't that far from anywhere - drive up early and have breakfast in one of the many cafes and be fuelled up for an 8:30am start.
No planned support cars - normal bunch ride conditions - big challenges - great fun.
Full details earlier in the thread.
Will PMM MAN be providing "entertainment" during the ride?
PMM Man's extent of participation will depend on the outcomes of his adventures with the wascally wabbit. It appears the wabbit is winning around now but rest assured PMM Man will make some sort of appearance and no doubt with multiple plans. There's even some train lines to cross on the first day!
Well - not long now.
I heard a few comments about a few things so to set things fairly straight - it is a bunch ride not a race. Okay there is a lot of RBWR riders there but this is distance so the pace will be lower and it won't be a race - or if it is - good luck to you - and the rest of us will let you go.
The other one was around Sunday's ride - for those looking at the full distance - it is Campbell Town - Swansea - Bicheno and then back over Lake Leake to Campbell Town. We already have a few doing the C/T - Swansea - C/Town so there are at least two choices. There may be others interested in a shorter version as well.
For Saturday there are a variety of options with the full ride, a ride C/Town-Fingal-C/Town (the flat bits) or Avoca/Fingal/Rossarden/Avoca (the hilly bits).
For Monday the variation is to go out the same route as everyone else on the C522 and turn right at Poatina Highway and come back on the C520 for a flat ride of around 100 klicks.
It was a beautiful morning in Campbell Town today. We started with eight riders and left well after the advertised time!! Conara junction and we had nine riders. Avoca and we had ten. From then on it got a bit warm. Coffee was scheduled for Fingal but everything bar a second hand shop was shut. Lucky he had eats and drinks. Off again and soon it was Pepper Hill. An average of 15% over two clicks means some of it was really steep. Three were seen walking. Over the top and a regroup in Rossarden. And then there is the next climb... Phew. Next was a magic descent to Avoca. It was about 31 degrees by this time. One sensible chap had a swim in the river. Off again into a head wi and and then the turn and a nice down wind to finish the day.
It was another glorious day in Campbell Town this morning.
Nine turned up with various intentions with the potential of a 200km ride ahead of them. Most headed off at the allotted time to tackle the Lake Leake climb. A couple started off later after a bit of a gear malfunction or lack of readiness. The temperature was pleasant, the wind was from the south but cross so no problem there. We regrouped at the top of the climb where our numbers reduced to six.
Down the hill at full pace, along the flat and then right at the highway and into Swansea for a very pleasant coffee and cake break. 70kms done. Despite grumbles from some the group set off again and kept on towards Bicheno. By the top of Cherry Tree Hill the numbers were down to three! Into Bicheno for more coffee and cake and about 115kms in the legs.
Off again - back up Cherry Tree Hill and then up and up and up and up the Lake Leake climb to get to the top. Unfortunately it undulates for a long time after that and then a magical few minutes downhill at full pace and next thing you know we were back with 200+ for the day. A big tea, hopefully a big sleep and Poatina is in the sights for tomorrow.
Day 3 of this extravaganza and we had seven front up for the trundle out to the top of Poatina Hill and back - or other versions. It was a cool start and there was a nice tail breeze to kick us along. The legs from yesterday were a bit sore but the whiz along at well over 30kph suggested the return journey might not be so easy. Its a relatively flat and uninteresting ride out to the turn onto Poatina Road and that was covered in good time. The turn off to Poatina saw one set of tired legs take an early minute to get a drink and head back to Campbell Town. The rest tried not to look up as we started the climb - bits of downhill were not appreciated - and then the climb proper started. The group shattered with Leo flying up the climb at an average of 17.9 (according to Strava) to score the 80th best time for the ascent. Not bad after 200kms the day before! The top average for the climb is a staggering 26.9km.
Mountain climber Michael crested the top second, followed by me with CliveR close behind with Ray next. Clive left us at this point to do a scenic drive home via the Lakes. The rest tootled down the hill to pick up Rod and then we descended at a sensible pace given the large amount of gravel on most of the corners. A stop for lunch in Poatina and off again. Ray left us and headed to Cressy and the remaining four worked long and hard into the headwind for the next 40 odd klicks.
All finished - 3 days - 500kms and around 5,000m of climbing. Some pretty tired legs and bodies, a few smiles and droopy eyelids. Those guys who do real Tour riding must be amazingly fit and strong.
Next year is in the planning already. We'll be in the northwest somewhere with two climbs already defined - Forth to Moina, and Gunns Plains to South Riana - and the other probably something to do with Hellyer Gorge and/or Table Cape. My training starts next week.
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