We are clearly not worthy disciples.

I was nervous about this ride, I felt I would be near my limits with the amount of climbing and the length of gravel.

Eleven riders lined. Eight doing the 200, one adventurous soul doing the 400 and Kevin and I attempting the 600.

A fairly quickish group to Mount White where the groups broke up a bit. We said bye to Garry as we diverged towards Wyong.

Fairly quiets roads and some consistent riding got us to the first stop in good order. One of the locals queried if we had an understanding of the appropriate laws for operating a velocipede on a public carriageway. I answered in the affirmative and wished him safe travels (not quite but it was a very polite exchange)

From Wyong we headed up to Morriset before swinging back south. Through Mandalong (oh that's where that mine is) and then on to Yarramalong Valley. Again we made good progress. A longer stop as we were 180ish Kms in by this stage.

The gravel climb out was reasonably smooth. Newly graded (passed the grader on the way up) and rolled (roller was coming down still). Then across to Bucketty

Onto the 35kms of gravel towards St Albans saw a couple of "moments" and some nasty corrugations. Can't imagine how the 200 riders on skinny tyres felt (shaken, not stirred). Once the road levelled out a bit we were back on the pace.

Stopping at St Albans to adjust so gear we decided to have a meal break at the pub. Soup was had by both (hit the spot). Lots invitations to stay and warm by the fires, but we pushed on into the night. Another quick dash saw us to the Webb Creek ferry. Through Wisemans Ferry and around to Loughtondale Gully for the gravel climb there. A slow steady climb to the background of the creek in the darkness.

We were off the projected 20km/h target by this time but still hoped to get back to the motel by 11. Progress was slowed by fatigue and after climbing out of Berowra and through Hornsby it was just shy of midnight.

I'd planned a 5am start to arrive at Springwood at or before 10, building in a buffer of 20 minutes until the checkpoint closed. Woke up to rain. The radar showed it was slightly better inland so I was happy to proceed.

After about 5kms I was feeling awful and was close to throwing up on a number of occasions (highly unusual for me). I told Kevin I'd see how I felt at Penrith. Quick toilet stop at Windsor and we were ahead of schedule and I felt a little better. Round the back of Windsor to Penrith I felt pretty good but said to Kevin to go ahead on the climb to Springwood as I wouldn't able to match his pace.

Up the first steep section and then into Lapstone. Let's just say Tim was not providing my with happy thoughts and leave it at that :)

Back out onto the now almost familiar climb to Springwood. I don't enjoy that first bit but I do like the climb overall. Still raining and there was a fair bit of water on the roads.

Into Springwood with 30 minutes to spare, so I was quite pleased with estimate planning. Baked goods were the order of the day, but the rain was increasing, with the radar showing ongoing rain.

We both felt fairly good at this stage, but the knowledge that a long steep gravel downhill was gnawing at my mind. After discussing we both agreed that we should pull the pin and train it back to town.

Had it been sealed all the way we would have continued but the risk on gravel we felt was too great.

Congrats to all the other riders. And a big thank you to Tim for planning such a testing route.

A final thank you to Kevin for putting up with my grumbling up the climbs and getting me through the bad patches. A pleasure as always to ride with

Truly it is a suitable route to honour The Prophet

What would I do different?

- plan a buddy or group from the start - very lucky to have Kevin join me

- need to raise the early pace a little 

- keep a better eye on late day pace (easier said than done)

- do the 200 ;)

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Replies to This Discussion

great effort Andrew, you did well no matter what the Prophet thinks.

That 35km is always rough, especially the top 6km.

Cheers Rob

I have no idea why you would do it on a roadie

it's where I damaged a rim, on a roadie. It is best done on a wider tyre

Lost a bottle at one point. Haven't had that happen for years

We know you like the extremes Andrew, 40 degrees, not warm enough, sub zero, too warm, all day/night rain on gravel, not enough, looking forward to the swim segments across flooded creeks. I suppose TransOz will be your next ride?

Well done Andrew, Kevin, Chris (and the 200s), too much inspiration is never enough. The prophet appreciates all efforts carried out with such dignity and respect. Those nice warm McDonalds are a big hazard.

Thanks Bill. Probably could have done with floaties on Sunday :)


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