Every now and then, you get to do a ride and you witness something you didn’t expect to see. Today was one of those days for me. My mate who has the house behind me, the bloke we call Bling Bling because he loves, well, his bling, set off on his biggest ride yet. His first century. When I say I didn’t expect to see it, I am probably being to hard on Sam. We did set out to achieve the goal by June, so really, I didn’t expect to see it so soon.
Sam is a big fella. He manages to push the needle on the scales way past the 125kg mark. Lets leave it at that. But he has a heart to match his stature. We have been riding together for a while now, and it has been great to see him do longer rides and see him ride over the top of Nowra Hill. He has been increasing the length of his rides gradually, and thought it was time to have a crack at the hundred. I set out a route during the week, and the always reliable Lewy was on board to help Sam get the hundred completed.
Sam dropped in yesterday afternoon, the day before the ride, with a few reservations. Easter traffic, Nowra Hill and the wind were all concerns. We decided to do a modified route which wouldn’t cover anywhere near the amount of climbing that was first planned. It would mean a few loops around the flatlands to get the hundred, but a hundred we would get.
Today dawned clear and crisp. Hardly a breath of wind about the place. Clear skies meaning the wind would probably pick up later in the morning. Sam and I headed off. A lazy 27kms before we got to Lewy’s place was uneventful except for the fact I managed to get a bug that went straight down my breathing tubes and had me hacking and spluttering for a good 5 minutes.
We got to Lewy’s and met up with him and Damian. excellent. So there would be 4 of us, great for riding in 2 pairs. Off we went. Up the South side of Shoalhaven River, across the bridge, and then skirted the North side of the river until our designated turn off a few kilometres up the road. A left turn onto Hanigans Lane and things were looking good. Then I saw some chit chat ahead and Sam slowed down. He then asked “where the road we had just been on, (Bolong Road), went to?” Lewy’s snappy reply of “Sydney!” got a giggle before we sorted Sam out. “Many hills?” Lewy again “only a few small ones” (I knew this was bull shit, but kept my mouth closed) and with that we did a U turn and headed back to Bolong Road. We then headed East and had a great run, wind assisted along the road besides the river. Just after a creek crossing, obviously over the bridge, we took a left onto Black Forest Road. It was then 10kms of lumpy roads made by the Lumpy brothers of Lumpsville.
The wind had picked up and on occasion we were heading into it. At about half way along this road Sam asked me “are then anymore hills like this?” I am not sure if I got away with the slightly strangled half truth that came out, I didn’t look. We pedaled on. When I was taking the photo above, the zip lock bag that my phone stays in, which also houses the $40 I take for coffees and emergencies, manged to catch some of the wind I was talking about and took off into a paddock. The boys had gone and here I was clambering through barbed wire fencing. Money and bag safely back in the jersey, I set off after them. Thankfully they had stopped at Coolangatta Road. Lewy then piped up and mentioned some road works ahead and that we should take Agars Lane. “It is smooth and better than the road works”. The bull shit was flying thick and fast. It was a corrugated mess. But it did make for some great photo opportunities.
After we got to the sealed road again, it was a short run into Berry for some breakfast and a coffee. Well, after the boys checked out Berry Bike shop. The cafe that Damian suggested was closed, so we decided to stop at the Famous Berry Doughnut Van. A dozen piping hot cinnamon doughnuts, some coffee and a caramel milkshake for me. It was here that Damian got the nickname Dates’n’nuts. I didn’t want to ask, but Mardis Gras was mentioned at one point. We watched a young lady butcher a parking attempt, then nearly reverse into a Mercedes. Bling Bling loaded up on a double shot espresso or something exotic and we were off. Dates’n’nuts refused to partake in the doughnuts, so he was first out of the gate leaving Berry. Leading the way over some of the rollers that joins Berry and Bomaderry. It was along this stretch of road that we say a StormTrooper. Not an every day occurrence. I had to stop and say g’day. I have seen his photo around the place and I wanted to tell him I thought he was doing a great job.
His website is here. http://troopertrek.com/
I donated some money and we were off again. We snuck around the back of Bomaderry to try and keep the climbs to a minimum. Then stopped at the River for a final break.
We set off again on the final push home. 87kms were in the bank and Bling Bling was on fire. The speed was dropping off but he was looking good. At the end of Jindy Andy Lane, we farewelled Dates’n’nuts and Lewy and I sat on the front for the final 13kms. We had 102kms on the board when I heard Sam yell out “want me to do a turn at the front norbs?” The bugger was obviously feeling great, but I thought it best to shield him from the wind. We still had about 7kms to go. Culburra Hill is a bastard of a climb at the best of times, but today I got a hurry up from the big unit on the way up. A nice surprise. I am not sure if he was delirious or not, but about 1km from home, there is another nasty lick kick for about four hundred metres. Just after we hit that I heard “Lets hit this mother …..” He was all fired up. We rolled over the top and then down the hill to his place. Bling Bling had finished his first hundred. And he didn’t just dribble over the line either, 108kms!
We stopped and had a couple of drinks before I headed home. I was as proud as punch.
Chapeau big man, it was a hell of an effort. I couldn’t be happier for you. And a big thanks to Lewy and Dates’n’nuts for the help. A great day for all of us.