Yesterday was a good day. I rode 90km+ with a couple of mates from Sydney park to Wollongong. Despite the constant warnings of bad weather we were glad that the weather held out on us for the whole day. In fact it was too sunny if anything!
Brandon met up at my place since i am pretty close to the start and we rode to st peters station to meet up with Justin, Ritchie, Eddie, and Felix. Soon after a group photo we set out.
The ride for the most part was cruisy and it was just great to enjoy riding with a whole heap of other cyclists. We saw a crap load of crashes and flat which highlighted to me how i still have to stay aware. In fact i said to the guys that it is genuinely fairly scary riding in a group this big with people of varying skills as it is utterly unpredictable how someone would ride their bike in front of you. As such i made sure to give everyone a lot of room and stayed alert just in case a sudden stop was necessary.
Once we got to Loftus oval we reconvened and Justin was already spent. Still, he soldiered on and stop after stop we finally got to the royal national park section. This section was the only section i really cared about as it had a decent climb over a long distance so i decided if i was to attack one section on the whole day it would be this one. I started from the bottom of the climb and worked myself into good tempo and braced myself for the coming pain. I kept my speed high at around 35km/h and only recovered slightly after each subsequent climb. There was riders in the left lane grinding their granny rings but i was on a mission. Not a mission to pass as many people but rather a mission to prove myself. In hind sight i wasn’t sure what exactly i wanted to prove but at that moment with my head down and my mouth wide open trying to intake as much oxygen as possible i was sure i had something to prove. In many ways i felt like i was in my own world metaphorically as i pushed up out of that section. I stayed on the right lane to avoid any issues and all i felt at that moment was cyclists in the left lane moving backwards, acid building in my legs, mouth wide open trying to suck air in, sweat running down my forehead and the sweet sweet sound of my bike cutting through the air. All a bit of a blur really but a great experience at that particular moment.
When i got to the top i put the bike to the side and decided to take photos and videos of friends coming up. Next out of the climbs was Brandon on his slicked mtb followed very closely by Felix who i didn’t even notice until he yelled “what about me?”.
Eddie also came up a little while later on and i reckon he put on a good effort. Climb’s has being the bane of his riding experience and i am pretty damn proud he went through that climb and finished it. It isn’t anything to scoff at for sure.
Justin came up a few minutes later and the look on his face was pure pain. He had made it out of the worst section though and after much coaxing we managed to get him to ride with us together till the finish. The ride from here to the end was much like the start of the ride. A lot of stops and very cruisy. Eddie managed to get a flat and we all got hungry from the bbq smells emanating from the beach.
Moments later we were all crossing the finish line. First time for some and multiple times for others. All feeling the satisfaction of completion. We stayed around to have some food and afterwards caught the dedicated train back home where we parted ways. Another gong ride completed. Congratulations to all of you that found it hard to finish the race but still pushed through. Definitely something to be proud of. Sometimes mental strength is the biggest hurdle with cycling.
Since my train stopped at Hurstville i was left to ride back to my home. I decided to once again test my legs and have some fun commuting back home and to my surprise kept a nice average speed of around 35km on the flats and 40-50 on the slight descents. I had fun keeping up with cars and at that moment i loved my road bike. Another big ride completed on it and i feel closer and closer to it every time. It might not be a pron brand but i honestly like the way it looks. It rides and handles well and over time i am learning to ride it better and better! Thanks Fuji!
PS :: you know you love your bike when you walk out of your room and just stare at it multiple times after a long ride.