Hello, I'm Alan

Wandong Winter Wonderer

Sunday, June 21 2015

I’d been sitting there thinking leading up to this ride that given this ride has a 100km & a 150km option, maybe this is the one to try and attempt my first 150km ride. End the end I decided, sure let’s give it a spin, maybe I’ll fail, but I won’t know unless I try.

Up extra early for the drive up to Wandong, with the predicted low of -2, was definitely going to be fresh. Very eerie driving under (not through, but under!) some fog just out of Cragieburn, I arrive, get setup, register and pass my light check.

Off we start with a decent crowd of riders for the middle of winter, very still, but the sun is out and shining nicely. Take a glance after I’ve been riding for about 10 mins, the bike computer says it’s -4.3!

Warmed up a bit from -4.3 when I stopped to take this photo

Frosty paddocks

Get in to a good rhythm and look at the frost over the landscape, and the day just start to wake up, quickly through Broadford, and start climbing the short steep hill up Sugarleaf Creek Rd, push down on the pedals, and start having my back wheel spin on a sealed road!

Warmed up enough for fingerless gloves

Rolling hills toward Seymour, on to Pyalong - Seymour Rd crossing the route of another Randonée from earlier in the year. First control at Seymour had some hot soup waiting for me being guarded by a retired tank! Hit the spot quickly, and on the fairly flat road through Mangalore and to Avenel to the newsagency for a shop control before backtracking back to Seymour.

Obligatory bike photo

Was about midday at this stage, and seeing the Mangalore pub, put the VB jingle in my head. Seeing a sign for Thales Explosive Ordinace Services with some of the font being in Comic Sans was slightly disconcerting.

Seeing this started playing the jingle to a VB ad

Explosives and the use of Comic Sans does nothing to inspire confidence, but does show me as being a little of a font snob

Back to the same control in Seymour for extra soup and some fruit cake for my lunch stop. By this stage I was the firm holder of the Lanterne Rouge for the 150km riders, not having seen anyone else since Avenell.

Warm Soup at the Seymour control

Bit slower out of Seymour taking the other route back to Broadford, along a mostly single lane road, back in to Broadford where one of the 200km riders overtaken me while I was stopping for a feed out of bag of goodies. 125km down at this point and seriously considered pulling the pin as I’d already put in a good day and was getting tired, but still had about 3 hours, so decided to have about 5mins more off the bike and then slowly proceed on toward the last control at Kilmore.

Between Broadford and Kilmore was 3 seperate hills with my thighs screaming they’d had enough climbing, so the stops picked up in frequency with the will power definitely waning. In to the last control at a service station where I’d been hanging out for a curried egg sandwich, but nothing to be had, so a muffin was eaten while sitting outside the door with some conufsed looks of drivers filling up, but was beyond caring at this point.

My first ever ride where I started with long shadows in the morning, and seen them again in the afternoon

Slowly back on the road toward Kilmore East and then Wandong going even slower, watching the shadows getting long, and some very beautiful afternoon light across the paddocks and trees, with one last climb to get back to Wandong. Running of fumes, in to the final control, along with some more soup and party pies, with a bit of a chat with some more 200km riders who’d caught up to me.

Very happy I did it, but feels like my bike fit may be a little off, so will probably do a few more 100km rides before attempting something longer again.