celeste boy wrote:But can you guess where this is? Shane won't know because it is completely flat. All the Felts were on the road whizzing by but the bike tracks and beach were good enough for this Giant.
Looks like there's some hills in the background there Graham. Be something different for you riding on the flats though, don't have any of that at home.
Well done on the imperial century oldnewby. Pacing yourself on longer rides is certainly a difficult challenge. It's all too easy to go out too hard and really suffer later on and I think the restraint to not do that is a major part of the challenge of longer rides.
whitey, well done on the 6k.
I was fortunate enough to have an RDO with some sensational weather on Friday. Started the day off with a breakfast date with my wife after her night shift then when she went home to sleep I headed off for a ride
. Decided it was time to get the climbing legs back into gear and to cross another climb of my list. While I'd climbed Saddleback before my list has 6 possible routes to do it and before this ride I'd only done two of them. For this attempt I'd decided to go from Kiama High School and follow the route of the Saddleback Smash
, an event that bills itself as Australia's Toughest Fun Run and this year has opened it up for bikes as well.
Heading down the freeway towards Kiama I'm wondering if I'd made the right choice in attempting it when I've been taking it fairly easy this month and haven't been doing a lot of serious climbing for a while. Saddleback is a testing climb when in good form as I'm hitting the undulations on the way to the start I'm wondering if my legs have it in them today. Still, I ride on and after a bit under 20km I find myself at the high school and starting the climb. It's a different feeling starting at the school and climbing past some houses and at 10% it's a reasonable start although not like initial punch in the face of the start on the Jamberoo side I usually took. Still, the heart rate is climbing a lot quicker than the bike is until as I climb up past the houses and the gradient drops a little before kicking back up a bit steeper as the gradient steps up to the mid to high teens for the first time. A glance over the left shoulder and I'm already high enough to have some fantastic views down the coast as having done just over a kilometre the road flattens out again and is mostly gentle undulations, including some slight downhills for the second kilometre. This takes me to the intersection with Old Saddleback Rd and it's around this point I notice that this side of Saddleback is a lot more open than the Jamberoo side. Occasionally it provides some motivation by allowing you to see an easing of the gradient or at this point a section of downhill up ahead but mostly it shows the challenge ahead with the view of the climb kicking back up after that descent or views of other steeper sections ahead. Looking up towards the top the final section of climb is hidden in tree cover and looks like God decided to plonk a hill on top of another hill. There's no obvious way up there but it makes the rest of the climb look relatively flat with it's slopes appearing 2 or 3 times steeper than everything leading up to it.
The downhill after the intersection is the last real rest as the road points straight back up and any recovery from there on is on the false flats. After about 5 km it flattens out again but the view of another steep kick up , disappearing into the trees, is just ahead. I take it easy on the flat to recover as much as possible then reach that start of that kick. As I start climbing this kick the view ahead continues to curve upwards and the gradient and my heart rate continue to rise, pushing up above 20 and 190 repectively. It's about 200m of this when things flatten off again. I'm now at the T intersection and it's the decision of where to go here that determines how a rider defines the climb of Saddleback. Some regard this as the top of the climb, turn right and drop down towards Jamberoo. These riders may tell you Jamberoo Pass is the toughest climb they've ever done. The other option is to continue straight ahead, past the gate and the signs warning to engage low gear and that no trailers, caravans, buses or coaches are permitted beyond this point. After the brief flat section of the intersection the road kicks straight back up around the 20% mark and stays there for around 400m. For the first 100 I"m feeling like it's ok and I should be able to make it. The second 100 I'm feeling near my limit and I know there's not much left in me. It's the first time I've worn a HRM for Saddleback and the 202 on the display is one higher than I've ever had before. Through the third 100 and every turn of the pedals is a conscious effort, my whole body is starting to feel weak and my heart rate climbs another beat or two. For the final 100 the crest is in view, giving some extra motivation to push on, I'd come too far to not make it now. As I pass over where the cattle grid used to be that marked the end of the climb it's instant relief as I cruise through the car park and around to the western lookout. I take a couple of pics before a toilet stop and then around to the other lookout for a couple more pics.