21 posts • Page 1 of 1
Me and some mates are warming up for the 3 peaks, 5 of us, Dave K, Dave D, Matt and Lachlan, decided to ride to Goulburn today.
The route was (from West Pennant Hills, Castle Hill, M7 path, F5, Ingleburn and Campbelltown, Narellan, Razorback, Picton, Bargo, Yerrinbool, Old Sth Rd to Bowral, Moss Vale, Exeter, Bundanoon, Wingello, Marulan and Goulburn. This picked up the tips from Beanzy and hannos for the tricky section from Prestons to Narellan Rd.
The full route and ride details are at strava.
The weather forecast was pretty dire, particularly in the Southern Highlands. We expected to get very wet.
We started at 6.30, in very light drizzle. The first section we took really easy, we cruised through Castle Hill, Bella Vista and down the M7 path. The M7 path was very wet from the overnight rain, although we were still only getting light drizzle. One section 2 km from the end was completely flooded. Camden Valley Way at that time of day was very busy, but we cut across to Beech Rd and Campbelltown Rd. If we had gone straight on the road of the M7, we would have had a very interesting time getting across the Campbelltown Rd on-ramp at Prestons. We got off the F5 at Brooks Rd, and went down the alternative route. The sun came out around about here. Traffic was busy but not bad through the Ingleburn-Leumeah-Campbelltown section.
Right onto Narellan Rd, past the crazy slip lane set up, and down the hill to Mt Annan and away out of town. We took the Camden bypass, and stayed on the road across the long narrow bridge. Traffic was not too bad. The road from there to the bottom of Razorback is not great, no shoulder, 100km/h and poor surface. Razorback is not a really hard hill, but we didn't smash it, we kept it on about 18 and got over the top. Coming off Razorback, our first puncture - Matt got a front wheeler.
Away again, through Picton, and up the other side under that nasty tight rail bridge and the hill following, we got 3 km out of Picton before our second puncture - right on 100 km Dave K hit a ridge in the road, and cut his rear tyre, causing an immediate loud blowout. As this happened, a very heavy shower passed over us, and we got drenched. An attempt to patch the tyre with a tube patch was only moderately successful, and the CO2 had the tube bulging out the cut. We let the tyre down again, hand pumped it to about 40 psi, and put Dave K on the front and told him to dodge all rocks, stones, ridges, holes of any kind, get the smooth part of the road and ride it up to the bike shop at Tahmoor. Four careful and cautious kms later, we made it to the bike shop, and bought a new tyre. On the way the rain had stopped and the sun came out. It even started warming up a bit. By this time we had lost an hour due to punctures, and it was cutting into our planned lunch break in Bowral. Back on the road again, it really is a long tough drag up this road. From Picton to Yerrinbool you go up 400 metres vertical in about 30 km. Doesn't sound that hard, but there are absolutely no downhills, and there are at least 5 significant climbs. Except for the steeper Catherine Hill, we were holding a steady speed above 25 km/h for this section. Also, there was a fair bit of traffic between Picton and Bargo but after Bargo, and the freeway interchange, there was much less traffic, and the riding was very enjoyable.
The left turn onto Old South Rd sneaks up on you, it's not well marked, it looks like a "nothing" road. But it is a great little road, which bypasses Mittgagong and drops you into East Bowral. I only know about it because the used to bring the Goulburn to Liverpool that way in the 90s. We took the first 5 km or so quickly, enjoying the first downhill sections since we came off Razorback. Right before the hardest hill of the day I got a flat in my front wheel. Our third (and thankfully last) of the day. Another quick fix, 135 km covered it was nearly 1 pm by this stage. Up the very tough little hill (7.5% for 2 km, but with a significant flat spot in the middle, most of the actual climbing is over 10%). The highest point of this route. Strava says I'm now sixth on this hill. I'll be 7th when DK loads his data up - he and Dave D rode away from us up here. Down the hill, it's steep and straight, I hit 84 km/h. Right at the bottom, and into Bowral for lunch 144 km, we stopped a few minutes after 1 pm.
We didn't have that long, but we kept it tight, everyone was reaonably happy to get moving again. We started at 1.50 pm, needing to cover the 87 km to Goulburn in 3 hours 10 minutes. From Bowral I had chosen quiet back roads as much as possible. So we went through Moss Vale, then out along the Illawarra Highway for 6 km, then left along the Exeter Rd. I had a bad patch through Moss Vale at around 150 km, but came good at about 160 km. This 45 km section of road to Marulan was the nicest road of the day. Very little traffic, it seemed more down than up (Strava doesn't agree) and we had a tailwind. The road runs along the rail line, and undulates a bit but the gradients are nothing to worry about. We got some very light showers through this section, but it was still warm and comfortable. Lachlan was starting to drop off on certain sections, and we had to nurse him a bit. I got a thigh cramp for a short while at Penrose, but had some gatorade and it went away.
At Marulan we turned onto the Highway, stopped for water at the service centre, and kept going. About 2 km up the road the shoulder was closed. After experimenting with riding the shoulder on the wrong side of the barriers, we had to just get back on the Highway, and ride about 500 m with no shoulder. From there we went along the more regular undulations as we got up to Governors Hill, and dropped down to the McDonalds, where we were meeting our ride, stopping the clock at 4.50 pm. 231 km at 27.6 km/h. From Bowral to Goulburn we averaged over 30 km/h, if you take the water break out. My legs now feel OK, I could have comfortably ridden another 30 km, and will probably go out tomorrow if the weather is OK. The two Daves, who have done 3 peaks, reckoned it was like riding to the bottom of Falls.
The temperature was over 20 C for most of the distance. Apart from the tyre change outside Picton, we got nothing heavier than drizzle. Driving back up the Hume, there was torrential rain from about Mittagong nearly to Campbelltown. So we had a good run.
I ate two bananas in the first 70 km, then a High 5 caramel bar, a pizza slice and coffee at Bowral, and a powerbar in the last 90 km. Starting with two bidons of water, I refilled at Tahmoor, Bowral (one water one gatorade), and one more bottle at Marulan. All up I actually drank about 5.5 bidons, including all the gatorade. It wasn't a hot day, I didn't need more.
8 hours 23 moving time. Total time was 10 hours 20. That included more than hour fixing and fiddling around with punctures. My first ride longer than 130 km since 1992.
With 4 weeks to go to 3PC, I know I can do the distance, but I need to do some work on steep hills, and just generally ride as much as possible, for the next 3 weeks.
Thanks guys, I'm really looking forward to 3PC. The base is there, I know I can do the distance, and my fitness is as good as it has been for 20 years. But can I ride up the back of Falls (8% for 9km, starting after having ridden 200 km)?
Anyway, I might make this the "Josh gets ready for 3PC" thread.
One thing I forgot to mention, my old bike, the blue Argon 18, developed a crack in the frame just over a week ago, the day I did Bowen Mountain. Been riding an EMC, which Mark at Turramurra Cycles lent me; a lovely bike, I've ordered one. But I did 231 km on a bike I had ridden only once before.
Got out yesterday at 5.20 am, did Galston and Bobbin Head before the club ride to Pitt Town. I was running a bit late for the start of the club ride, so I had to really put in over that first 45 km. Went with the As, and we did the first half very smoothly, but Annangrove Rd, Windsor Rd and Pitt Town Rd are very fast pieces of real estate. Then we rode at a good pace up Halcrows. Ended up with 134 km in 4h19, at an average of 30.9. Happy with that, after Friday...
Got a couple of 3PC things delivered today, including some Hi-5 energy drink mix. No, not red cordial aimed at the under 5s. The sniffer dogs must have smelt it, because it had an Australian Customs handout inside, plus "Opened by Customs" stickers. Also it took 4 weeks to arrive - I had been worried that the internets had finally let me down...
Will try and race out at Marconi tomorrow.
I saw your effort up bowen on strava and by the looks of it you missed some of it for the full climb you have to turn off down grose river road where you go a bit downhill then turn right onto grose wold road and that is where it starts a bit after that.
My training partner went out there today without me as I was resting my knee and KOMed all 3 of the climbs on strava.
I might do Marconi tomorrow night depending on how I feel the knee is going. It did good today so may be on the cards.
If an old fart like me can do it I'm sure you will cruise up it and wonder what all the fuss was about. Piece of cake in comparison to the Jenolan Caves R/T IMO.
Don't fancy our chances of racing tomorrow night. Just in the door today as the storms broke in the west (again).
FPR Jubilado Bludger
Did 159 km this morning, with 1900 vertical metres. Most of it was with 1 or 2 others, and about 45 km was in a bunch. Went Crows Nest, Spit, Allambie, Turramurra, Galston, Maroota, then back home.
Averaged just over 30.
If you read the race report thread, my legs are coming along nicely after my minor crash on Tuesday.
That bruise on my upper thigh is huge and vivid for a 25 km/h crash...
The pic is taken in the mirror, it's actually my left leg.
I have been thinking about how to write this. Some photos would have been nice, but this post is already too massive.
So much has been said after the epic adverse conditions in the first two years, as well as other rides that do this course (ACE 250 and others), that anyone who wants to know about this ride, the course, the difficulty, already does know. Suffice to say, the conditions on Sunday were perfect. Cool at Falls for the start, but not freezing, warming thereafter, cool and windy at the top of Hotham, then warm all afternoon, and even comfortable for the finish at Falls. The sun was out basically all day. Some mates of mine, back in August/September had after a bit of goading about this ride (they had done it, I had not) told me that if I did it, I should take some Dunlop Volleys for the Back’o’falls.
I had done 3000 km in the first 10 weeks of the year, with a skew towards some tough weeks in mid January. I had gone past 150 km twice, with a longest of 231 km to Goulburn. My greatest elevation gain was about 1900 m. The 3 PC is 4,400 vertical metres.
The weather in the last 3 weeks in Sydney was poor, but given my other commitments, I had done everything I possibly could.
My bike died in early February, and on a combination of a borrowed bike, and my new (2 week old) bike, I had been doing strava PBs up hills all over the place. I also needed new shoes. I rode on a basically new EMC 1.0 with Dura Ace, with the following modifications, 175 mm compact cranks (50x34) (105s, I couldn’t justify Dura Ace), my trusty old Fulcrum 3 wheels (instead of the light and stiff Reynolds, which are great to ride but I didn’t fancy them in the wind at the top of Hotham, and they are a bugger to change when you get a flat) with near new Conti 4 Seasons (NB. NOT gators or 4000s, both of which have caused me issues in the past). My lowest gear was a 34x25.
My plan was to stop for water and a quick snack at Buckland Gate (92 km), then lunch at Omeo (158 km), then a quick pit stop at Anglers Rest (189 km) before the Back’o’Falls. The plan was Harrietville in 2’20”, top of Hotham in 4’20”, then down to the Back’o’Falls in 8 hours (including breaks), targeting a finish time between 10 and 10.5 hours. It didn’t work out like that.
The ride started in well organised waves. Of course, starting a ride with a 20 km descent down Falls Creek will expose you to a range of skills. Slightly frustrating, but I didn’t see a crash or even a near miss. Most people were pretty sensible. The road was closed, and yes, people were using the whole road. There are two little uphill lumps in the middle of the descent, and I climbed them quickly, but my HR immediately went up to the red zone. Hmm. Not good. Ate a banana into Mt Beauty and up to the start of the first climb, Tawonga.
Tawonga is not an easy climb at 6.6%, in fact at a continual 400m vertical it’s the highest climb I’d done since 1992. I went at what I thought was a steady pace, but I was suffering unwanted intestinal perturbations, and was getting uncomfortable. The new bike has a Garmin, but the magnets are not set up, so the GPS speed was telling me I was doing under 10 km/h when I plainly wasn’t. My HR was high though, too high. And I needed a quick pit stop. At the top of Tawonga (31’52”, 306th for the day) I peeled off my knee warmers and got back on ASAP.
The idea for the next 30 km to Harrietville is obvious. Descend safely, then sit in a bunch, do as little as possible, and rest for Hotham. Of course, I did not do that. I worked hard down the bottom of the hill to catch a bunch, OK fair enough. Then I sat on the front of the bunch with only 2 others working (including Chris, who was part of the group of mates I had gone down with). Not so wise. Then when we caught another bunch, instead of sitting on, we went round them and continued on at maybe 33 km/h. Getting pretty dumb now. My HR was up around 160 for most of this stretch. As planned I didn’t stop at Harrietville, and got there on about the schedule, in 2’20”. I did get another banana and bar in during this section. I was drinking plenty. Possibly too much.
I felt OK on the lower slopes of Hotham, and rode away from Chris. Another of the guys in our group, Matt, came past, and was climbing well as he went on. I didn’t see him again all day. The Meg was no problem and I caught up to another mate of mine towards the top of the first 9 km, GJ. He rode away from me through the flatter middle section, and I stopped at Buckland for a refill of water.
Back on the bike, it started to get harder. It pitches a bit about 1 km after Buckland, and I felt that. Then the descent and onto CRB hill, which I really felt. A guy who I had worked with for a few km on the flat section came past me, said something like “Wish I had compacts” then got off and walked. I didn’t see him again all day. Some absolute nong in a truck with the logo “Bright Firewood” came past with a busted muffler and huge plumes of rank diesel fumes everywhere. Apparently he went to the top and I reckon given the timing, he must have gone past more than half the field in his journey to the summit. I heard later someone told him to fix the muffler, and he said words to the effect “It’s like that for the cyclists”. Hoho. A cyclist consumer boycott of Bright Firewood is in order.
Anyway, so I did the two saddles in the road after CRB, where the wind blows across the road, as it passes across the ridge line, with sheer cliffs off both sides of the road. I'd hate to be up there on a really windy day… then onto Diamintina. I was really feeling sick by now. I found this to be the hardest section of the day. I was doing about 9 km/h, with my highest sustained heart rate of the day. At one point one bloke fell straight over yelling “Cramp!”, by the way the only crash I saw all day. My greatest concern at this stage was not getting up to the top, but the thought that if I feel like this here, how would I be on the mythical Back’o’Falls climb?
I got myself a bit confused at the top, I thought the climb ended at a bridge, and it was obvious that there could be no bridge on the corners I was rounding, because there was no land on the other side of the road. I knew from the distance I must be nearly there. But I was very surprised to descend for about a km before getting to the bridge (Mt Hotham, 2’07”45s, 385th). Amazingly I was still close to my schedule, only about 10 minutes behind, but I felt like carp by this time, and started considering whether I might need to stop at Dinner Plain. The two very moderate climbs between Hotham Village and DP convinced me – I was doing about 14 km/h up 4% inclines. I was shot.
Had a nature break, saw GJ, he was leaving, I let him go. Sat down and had a powerbar, a cookie and another banana. Avoided the vegetable pitta wrap. Some of my other mates rolled in, Chris, Simon, Rob, Tim, Dave and Keith. I decided to go with them. I spent 36 minutes at Dinner Plain all up, which was way too long, but even then I felt only halfway decent, with a headache and a sore belly.
The descent starts fast, and Simon and Rob are good descenders. At one point we were above 60 km/h for 5 minutes or so. But the little uphills were still getting to me. Near Omeo there is a short 10% climb that goes straight up, only 50 vertical metres, but I was still going nowhere. Felt awful. Just after that there is another climb, not as steep, then the last swift descent into Omeo. We stopped for 4 minutes. I finally swapped out one of my water bottles for Powerade. I should have done that much earlier. I don’t like the sweet stuff too early on a ride, because I reckon a sugar flat can make things worse. I started to feel a bit better, although I still had a massive headache.
Up the hill out of Omeo, and onto the nice section. From the reports, I thought this section ran along a river. It kind of does, although the river is about 200 metres below the road, in a valley. You can just see it. This was the warmest section of the day, and my shoe covers were causing my feet to overheat. It was so painful I could barely pedal. What a pathetic whinger I am, aching this, aching that, sore knees, sore feet, whatever next? What did I expect?
Into Anglers Rest. Arm warmers off. Shoe covers off. Shoes off. Socks off. I wet my feet, and wet my socks. I had sent ahead to Anglers a can of Coke, a banana, and an up’n’go. Downed the up’n’go, drank the coke, refilled the powerade (a rich mix, not saturated, but richer than manufacturer’s recommendations), and then did something I should have done several hours earlier at Dinner Plain. I downed two nurofen.
We went from Anglers to you know what corner at about 23 km/h. No one wanted to work, least of all me. I sat on the back of a bunch of about 10, guzzling powerade, and stressing out. I was thinking, of all the crazy stupid things I have done over the years, all the agony I have been through on bikes, the rides done hungry, thirsty, tired or just plain shattered, this was going to hurt the most. I got so stressed out just before the corner that despite doing no work whatsoever on the flat at a speed I would basically ride at with my kids, my HR went to 160. My headache was still there, but my belly was settling a bit. My feet were warm, but not causing any problems.
Put it straight into the 34x25 before the corner. Round the corner, thanks to Matt de Neef (the climbing cyclist) http://theclimbingcyclist.com I knew the hardest bits were the first km, and then between 3-5 km. After that the really steep sections are more sporadic. Even on steep sections, I climb in the saddle. Out of the saddle, particularly on this day, I have about 2 minutes before I blow. So I sat down and ground it out, at 7-8 km/h. After the first km, it gets a bit flatter, not too bad, the steep bits there are a bit steeper than the steepest bit of the steep side of Akuna Bay (4 uses of the word steep in positive, comparative and superlative form, in a single sentence...). At 3 km it pitched up again. I stayed sitting and ground it out again. I wasn’t watching my speed, didn’t care. I didn’t have a cadence monitor. I didn’t watch the other riders around me, except for the odd rider delivering the mail. I just watched my heart rate. I was keeping it between 160 and 165, a pulse rate I know I can climb at basically all day. It got to 170 at 5 km, where there is a short downhill. My back and knees were sore, but my headache had gone. And I knew then, I would not be walking up this hill. No need for Dunlop Volleys.
It takes 8 minutes to do a single km at that speed, so I turned the Garmin which had been showing 201, 202, 203, 204 km for close to half an hour to the second Garmin page, where I have my elevation, ascended and descended metres plus calories and air temperature. Much more informative! After that, the Back’o’Falls is a fun hill, you still have about 600 vertical metres to go, but the still frequent steep bits are short and interspersed with “comfortable” 5% gradients and flat spots. I started to really roll it out, keeping the speed relatively high, and at a comfortable heart rate. I felt the best I had felt all day and was starting to pass people. A quick stop at Trapyard Gap, which is at 210 km, and a quick nature break (I reckon my 6th of the day, which is ridiculous – is it possible to drink too much? Undoubtedly better than too little on a warm day, but surely there is a happy medium somewhere).
Anyway, I had the confidence now to storm (relatively speaking) up the remaining hills, and did so. We had done a warm up ride the previous day to 11 km from Falls. The top of the last real hill. From there it is predominantly downhill and flat, with a short climb after the dam with 1 km to go. There were some blokes giving encouragement there, with cowbells, then down through the cheering crowd into the entry chute and the finish.
My official time is 11h10m10s. My “on bike” time was 9h54m51s, so 75 minutes of rest stops, which is way too long, and much more than I had thought I would need.
My average HR was 148 (78%), which is higher than I have ever reached on any training ride, and my Strava suffer score was 497, which is ridiculous...
I can relate to the way you got yourself worked up about Say What hill, I've done that to myself too. A lot of nervous energy needlessly wasted And don't you just hate those "intestinal perturbations"
Thanks a lot guys. NotFlyingScot had it right, Falls is tough, but it isn't THAT bad if your gearing is right, and it was far from the hardest thing I have ever done on a bike.
Some missing stats, I did 2h07min up Falls, for 185th. And overall I was 4h42min for 263rd on the combined Hills, and 286th on finishing time.
Went for a spin this morning, felt fine.
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