A slightly shorter long ride this week than last week. Shorter by about 1km in fact. It might have been shorter, but it was a hell of a lot harder.
I drove up to Kiama to meet a couple of people I know through work that were keen to go for a ride with me. The plan was for a 5-6 hour ride leaving Kiama, going out over some hills at Jamberoo and then head north to Bald Hill for lunch, then ride home. It would have been about 150kms all up.
When I arrived at Kiama, it was a stunning day.
I was first to arrive, so went and got changed and waited for the other two to show up. Dave showed up about 5 minutes later. We had never met before, so I was a bit nervous when this whippet walked over and introduced himself. He then said “The might be a problem” before taking of his sunnies to reveal eyes that looked like oysters floating in cream. A severe case of conjunctivitis! As I struggled to hold down my breakfast, he said he would come along if I wanted him to. I shook his hand again and told him to go home. I waited for Anthony. 10 minutes, nothing. I then realised I had parked in a 4 hour zone. I moved the car and waited. Nothing. Hmm. I didn’t have his number, and after another 10 minutes decided he was a no show, so decided it was time to go.
As you can see from the photo below, it was a brilliant day. Hardly a breeze and sunny skies.
I thought I would give Anthony one last chance before I left the car park, so I did a lap around the Kiama headland. Up past the kiosk, the lighthouse and the gaggle of tourists at the Blow hole, what Kiama is most famous for.
No sign of Anthony, so I was off. Up the main street of Kiama and heading for Jamberoo. The roads out the back of Kiama are terrific. Probably best to let the pictures tell the story.
I rolled into Jamberoo village and stopped to get some sunscreen and take a layer of clothing off. There were hills ahead and I was already a bit warm. Quite a few cyclists were stopped in Jamberoo having a coffee. Lots of flash bike were propped up against signs and poles. I am always a bit intimidated by these blokes. I expect them to blast past me going up a hill. And that was exactly what happened not far out of Jamberoo. There is a terrific climb of about 4kms not far out of Jamberoo. About 500m from the start of it, two light weights went by me at a fair rate of knots. Both of them grinding a pretty big gear. The second one gave me a “keep going mate, only 2k to go” as he pedalled by. They disappeared around a bend and I thought that was the last i would see them. Ha, a victory for the fat old blokes. I caught and passed them both, just near the end, where it kicks up to 10% for the last few hundred metres. Sadly, I didn’t have the breath to offer them any advice, but I sure got a look of surprise when I passed them. Even more annoying, the GoPro camera which had been taking a photo every second, had run out of memory. Dopey here had forgotten to delete the videos from previous rides. Bugger.
It is a fast and furious run down the hill into Albion Park, and it was approaching the hour, so I stopped just as i hit the Freeway near the airport for my first food break. I am not sure why I didn’t get a photo at that stop. Probably because I was on the side of a highway, and it was pretty bleak.
I hopped back on the bike and headed North. I had decided I probably wouldn’t go all the way to Bald Hill, I think it would have been a bit beyond me, and as it turned out, it was a bloody smart choice. I was going along the highway at a nice rate. Cadence was good. I was feeling good. The kilometres were being eaten up. I turned right off the highway and headed for the coast, and some lunch. Sandon Point was looking a picture.
I was laying on the grass in the sun, eating my sandwich thinking things were pretty good. It was then that I realised the wind had picked up. Whoohooo, tailwind all the way home. Packed up the backpack, stood up, mounted the bike and it was then that I realised, no, not a tailwind, a bloody block headwind. Bastard! I was heading for 54kms of riding into a 30kph head wind. Suddenly things weren’t so rosey.
Off I went. I recall Duke saying to me a while back that riding into a wind messes with your head. he was right. Before lunch I was enjoying my ride. Even the hills. Now I wasn’t as chipper. Cresting a hill I was hit fair in the chops by this wind. Rolling down a 5% gradient and when I stopped pedalling, I slowed down. I hugged the coast for the first half of the trip home. Down through Wollongong and past the Harbour. Out to Coniston and the Bluescope Steelworks. Then Spring Hill and heading back to the freeway. A bit over 3 hours in I stopped for another food stop. the sign told me I had 26kms to go.
It was here I got a text message to tell me Anthony’s wife had gone into labour. As far as excuses go, they don’t get much better. I ate the last of my Nutella sandwichs and a big drink and off I went again. The last 26kms were hard work. The final 4kms had 2 reasonable climbs, they felt massive on the day, and I was a very happy rider when I finally got off the bike after exactly 4.5 hours in the saddle.
Week 3, done and dusted. Week 4 might be a bit tricky as the bride is heading off for 4 weeks in Europe, so i am not sure how I will squeeze a ride in next weekend.
See you all next week. 🙂