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A really good audax ride. Very challenging, great country, strong wind, rain, more patient drivers and a pace that meant we were on the edge of DNF all day.

The only decent flat sections of road seemed to be the 10-15 km either side of Bathurst. The rest of the route was pretty much up and down all day with little time for steady cruising.

As we left the midway checkpoint, Chifley Dam, Wayde spotted my rear tyre was flat. Because we were already close to cutoff times I encouraged the other to ride on. I replaced the tube but rode on with some expectation of a repeat as I hadn't found either the hole in the tube or the cause.

I headed off thinking the next turn was easy - head back to the T intersection and turn right. I should have read the cue sheet better. I missed the turn, that wasn't actually a t, and rode on 6km to the obvious t. When I got there I smelt a rat as the right turn was sign posted to Bathurst. A better look at cue sheet and my smart phone map revealed the ugly truth. So back I went. A 12 km detour that was going to cost me any chance of finishing in time.

An hour after the first flat it was clearly losing air. A stop for a more air then off again. Within 5 mins it was flat again. Ok, bite the bullet and spend whatever time it took to find the cause. Ended up being a 3 mm piece of wires that couldn't be felt inside the tyre and barely seen outside the tyre. All good, on the road again expecting to finish the route but way overtime.

By the time I got to Tarana my garmin was running low on power, my phone had only a. Few mins of power and I was running out of juice. Had just enough phone battery for a quick SMS to Robert to let him know I was short cutting back to on the route we rode out on in the morning.

I got back just before 9 pm, flat phone, flat garmin, one headlight flat. Quite an adventure.

Wayde has promised to make the route a bit tougher next year.

The only thing worse than bonus kilometres is bonus hills. For most of the Sydney brevets I have some idea where I am but with Wayde's rides around Parkes and especially the all night Elvis Escape I realised I could have easily been completely lost. Bringing up the rear as I usually do I can't even just follow others, Wayde hung back a bit on Elvis Escape to make sure I survived the tricky back back road navigation, (more difficult as my bike computer stopped working so I did not have the distances to reference the cue sheet and it was too dark to see either anyway), but I have recently got myself a Garmin in the hope that I will at least not slow others down. Loading a route TCX seems to work as long as the battery lasts.

I suspected the Lithgow Panorama was too easy so if Wadye does make it a bit more challenging I will try it next year.

PS CUESHEET, CO-RIDER & BIKE PLANNER are all good apps (iphone & Android) that allow the loading of a GPX or TCX file and display the route with your location, battery life prevents using it all day but for quick confirming reference they are good. Co-Rider & BIKE PLANNER especially as the route is loaded on the phone so you don't need a connection and you can at least see your location in reference to the route line, like the Garmin breadcrumb.

going home


Pleasantly surprised that we could still ride On my way! Es et off home on Monday morning. We were back in touring mode so first cafe stop was just 4 km after we started.

The descent down towards Hartley Vale was as thrilling as Saturday's climb up the same hill had been difficult. Interestingly the heart rate was about the same going down the hill as it had been struggling up.

We were both expecting to walk some, or most, of the climb back up Hartley Vale Rd and were very pleased to ride the whole way. Sweet. While it had looked quite steep during Saturday's descent it didn't look so steep after some of the pinches we had encountered on Sunday's brevet.

Another cafe stop at Mt Victoria was followed by a hurried race through the on highway, very narrow shoulder, section between Blackheath and Katoomba that led us to the Leura lolly shop.

The remainder of the ride down to Penrith was without rain and we were able to get dry before catching the train home. A good way to finish a great riding weekend.


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