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- Joined: Wed Nov 09, 2011 3:41 pm
- Location: Bellerive, Tasmania
“West coast Wander”
What is it?
The 2019 three day February training ride will be held over the long weekend on the 9th, 10th and 11th. The bunch ride/s is/are a training/endurance ride for cyclists a bit like a fondo but with regrouping. 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 18th 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 Derwent Bridge on Saturday morning and ride to Zeehan and back, via Reece dam, by Monday afternoon.
The detail is a bit further on but the basic route is Derwent Bridge to Zeehan on Saturday with Strahan as an optional extra, a circuit out over Reece Dam and the Anthony Henty Road or Strahan and back on Sunday, and then back to Derwent Bridge on Monday. There are a number of variations for everyone in terms of start locations and turn points depending on your choices.
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 various parts of the northwest coast. We do an extended version every four years and do a seven day trip around the state with the next one due in 2020. Last year we trundled up to the Central Plateau under some seriously adverse conditions which really taxed my driving skill!. 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 9th to Monday the 11th of Feb (the 12th 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 2002 we have had between 10 and 25 riders along. Over the last few years with the increased challenge factor we had around 20 on the road most days.
Sat 9th: Derwent Bridge – Queenstown - Zeehan 125km + 1400m climbing
Sat 9th: Derwent Bridge – Queenstown –Strahan - Zeehan 173km + 1850m climbing
Sun 10th Zeehan – Reece Dam C252- Anthony Rd B28 – Zeehan 184km + 3000m climbing
Sun 10th: Zeehan – Strahan - Zeehan 92km + 800m climbing
Mon 11th: Zeehan – Queenstown – Derwent Bridge 125km + 1950m climbing
482km + 6800m climbing (long versions)
Saturday morning kicks off at 10:00 from the Hungry Wombat café in Derwent Bridge. I’ll have a chat to the owners and get permission to leave vehicles in their ample car park. We head west on the best bit of riding road in Tasmania i.e. the west coast highway whizzing down Arrowsmith and then the bends into Queenstown for a coffee. After coffee and a few kms further west the decision time comes to ignore the turnoff to Strahan or ride another one of the great roads in Tassie which will cost an extra 50kms but has the bonus of a coffee stop on the way.
Sunday is usually the big day and this one won’t disappoint. For those looking for a challenge we group up at 8:30 outside the Central Hotel in main St Zeehan and head out on the Heemskirk Road (C249), cross the Reece dam and then keep going on the Pieman Road (C252) through to a right turn onto the Murchison Highway and a coffee at Tullah. South again for a short while and then we turn left onto the AnthonyRoad (B28) to get a bit of climbing in. After a while we get to the A10 and turn right and head back to Zeehan. 184kms and 3000m of climbing.
For those not after a big day the bail out option is the also assemble at the Central Hotel at 8.30 and then head to Banjos in Strahan for a coffee and return. 92kms and 800m of climbing.
Monday sees us back on the best riding road in Tassie. An assembly at 8:30 outside the Central once again and we head out to the highway and off to Queenstown for an early coffee. East again and we will arrive in Derwent Bridge with 125kms and 1950m of elevation gain for the day. The burgers at the Hungry Wombat are something special –one of my favourite cafes.
There are a few choices of accommodation available in Zeehan at a wide variety of standards and prices. Ones of note are the caravan park, the Heemskirk Motor Inn, or the Cecil. The Central Hotel is permanently closed at the time of writing.
The normal process for determining a February Ride is to pick out the coffee shops first and then pick the route accordingly. Saturday is covered by Derwent Bridge, Queenstown, Strahan and Zeehan. Sunday has limited options in terms of Tullah only or Zeehan only. Monday gives us Queenstown and Derwent Bridge.
I expect we will meet up for evening meals somewhere in town on Saturday and Sunday night probably at the Motor Inn, the Cecil or the RSL.
Most years we have a support vehicle towing a lockable covered trailer to get your gear from place to place. We will do that again this year with those using it contributing to the costs for the driver and the vehicles. I haven’t worked out those costs yet so that will come later and will depend mostly on covering the costs for the driver. I also haven’t worked out whether the support car will act as a sag wagon on Sunday as yet either.
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 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 will keep the details on a Strava ride with the maps of the various days riding. It will be listed mainly in the PCCC group but may be shared on others.
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.
So – where are you going again???
I have drawn up the routes and used Strava as the base. For those not on Strava.com just sign up and join the PCCC group and you will have access to the courses with maps and elevations. Quite handy really but for most of it you probably don’t really want to know!!
That’s it for now. This is the first version of the route and I can’t see it changing. If there’s anything you need in the way of information you can catch up with me at your leisure.
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