Last year i didn’t end up doing the ride due to my wedding. This year, i wasn’t intending to do it but a last minute decision saw me sign up to mostly keep Brandon company.
The day started at 5 with me waking up and doing the usual prep and heading out around 615 to meet up with Brandon. It had being raining not long ago or over night and the roads was wet. Immediately i thought a sketchy ride was about to get even more sketchy. I have always being a little cautious with the Gong ride because there are so many riders on the road at the same time and they all seem to be fairly excited. The first stretch leading into waterfall is especially chaotic.
We rolled off from my home heading up Princess hwy to the starting spot. Already, there was plenty of riders coming down from the opposite side of the road. Once we got to the starting spot we pretty much did a u-turn and headed back the same way starting the on the official Sydney to Gong route. The road was still wet so i made sure to stay wide away from any potential issues. Riding fairly cautiously we reached Loftus Oval.
From there, the group stretched out a little more until we hit the waterfall descent. I “rolled” down the descent and looked forward to the climb out to Stanwell tops. Brandon and I pushed a little and made good time up to Stanwell. I glanced down on the garmin a couple of times and i saw the HR of around 175bpm so sticking around we ain’t. The garmin didn’t plot this section properly though as it lost signal at the bottom of waterfall which meant a bad plot.
Around this time, i started to have a lot of fun. Maybe it is the fact i haven’t really ridden in royal natio for a long time but it is definitely a pretty place to ride. I loved coming out of the hairpin climbs and sprinting up the gradual incline. I loved the quietness of everything and mostly i think i loved my BMC even more. As we neard the top, the ground dried up which meant for extra pace. Through the next section there is a lot of pinch climbs and short descents and due to a mistake, i thought Brandon was infront of me, when really, he was behind me. I hammered it trying to find him but alas, i never was going to find him. This section was also a lot of fun as i could just fly down the descents and power up without too much effort. Being a lighter guy, i find that i carry more momentum up the hill when i roll down into it then heavier guys for sure.
Finally i came across a left turn and remembered that the costal section was finished. Already?! in my memory, it took a lot longer than this. I decided to wait at this spot for Brandon.
Whilst waiting for Brandon i spent a good 5 minutes eyeing my bike. Once Brandon rolled in we headed off to finish the last section of the ride which is pretty straight forward. On the last part i grouped with a couple of guys of fairly similar ability and we hammered it home towards the finish line at a pace of around 35km/h. Before i knew it, the ride was over. It all felt a little too easy.
The last time i did the Gong ride was 2010 on my Fuji. Back then, i just started road riding but i distinctly felt that this year was the easiest gong ride i have ever done. Even right up to the last few kms i was doing stupid stuff like sprinting for no particular reason and doing random efforts. I was actually quite surprised i had so much in the tank considering i haven’t done a 90km + ride for around half a year now.
At the end of it all, i enjoyed the ride this year. It was maybe a little challenge-less for me this year but it was great to be out and about with so many riders.
Really impressed with the wheelset as well. It just feels super responsive from sprinting out of saddle to just a decent effort. Two pedals and ive lept off the line. Braking is also amongst the best i have tried on all carbon wheels and the stability is also very very good.