The tree on the other side of my back fence has started sprouting leaves so I decided to do a photography project with it. Once a week I’m going to snap of a photo of it. The idea is to take a photo of the same branch every week.
Yup, that’s what I scoffed down when I finally made it home after today’s Degani Kinglake Ride. It really wasn’t warm enough but I was hungry.
And entitled to be so. I managed to ride the 70kms in under three hours, which was my aim. I discovered there are some really fun descents between Whittlsea and St Andrews. I even crouched right down over the bike to see how much speed I could get up (apparently around 60kms) which isn’t something I’d normally do. But the descent was really, really straight so I could see exactly where I needed to be. It was too good an opportunity to pass up. I’m discovering a lot of the riskier activities in cycling comes down to confidence and I felt pretty good so it didn’t feel that risky even though I knew that if I came off at that speed it would’ve definitely meant a trip to the hospital.
I’m really glad I did the climb up to Kinglake before the ride. As I was climbing it became obvious that there were quite a few people who hadn’t. There was plenty of suffering going on but I actually felt pretty good. Knowing what to expect made a huge difference. I’ve had some problems with my back in the last week and it really started complaining about half way up but I was determined to not walk so I struggled on. I made a point of getting out of the saddle more often which relieved the pressure on my lower back.
They had a signs at the start and end of the climb so the riders could track how long it took them to get to the top. I was pretty pleased with my efforts – 35 minutes from start to finish. I actually overtook a lot of people and I think – once again – preparation was key in that. There wasn’t meant to be any overtaking on the climb up but I was moving faster than some people and it felt flat out dangerous to get stuck behind someone who was moving so slowly. That climb really isn’t one to be wobbling about on and I did get stuck behind a kid who was doing just that which really worried me. I preferred to take the risk and overtake. I was very careful and only did it when I could be 100% sure it was safe.
There was a nasty surprise on the way out of Kinglake. All of a sudden there was a climb of about 750m – 1km with a 9-10% grade. It was horrible, it felt like it was never going to end and my legs were like rubber. And then there was the nasty crosswinds which we were protected from when climbing up. We were getting hammered and I was finding it hard to keep the bike in a straight line. It was tough and at that point I just wanted it to be over but there was still 30kms to go.
Things did improve though. The descent into Whittlesea was amazing. The only way to handle the winds and give the bike more stability was to crouch down but of course, you do that – you accelerate, a lot. I hit 70kms (fastest I’ve ever been on a bike) and I was still being overtaken. I thought it’d be brown trouser time going at speeds like that but it was awesome. I wonder what it’d be like if it wasn’t quite so windy…
My stats in graph form…
(The flat bits in my graphs are from when I stopped at two of the rest spots.)
Check out the top speed!
So yes, the ride was good. I don’t know if I’ll do it again. $140 seems a lot of money to do a ride that doesn’t really benefit the community and is one I can do any time I want. I suppose that’s true of any of the recreational rides. I’ll definitely head out that way again.