Okay so a bit more of a write up for the Wahine

There were 29 starters, 3x 1200, 4x 1000, 3x 200 and the rest doing 600

Really started in December when Francis and I did the Three Parks permanent. He mentioned he was going to do the Wahine at Easter. I was like "yeah sure, I'll give it some thought" as I had a soft target of doing a 1000/1200 in this season but hadn't really put too much thought into it. Yes, surprising I know.

Checked out the club calendar to see what rides met the criteria and really it was a choice between Wangaratta Wahine and Young-Binnaway-Young, with the Young ride having precedence given the closer start.

Checked the actual calendar and saw the timing for the Wahine was better being over Easter and close to ANZAC day to maximise leave. Now, how to get the wife on board.

Knowing she had a friend who lived south of Ballarat that she hadn't seen in years I suggested we could make a decent trip of it. They could drop me off and pick me up on the way home. So the motel was booked and then choice was which distance to do?

After some umming and ahhing, I elected to register for the 1200 (which Francis had planned to do), figuring that I'd either get to 1000 or I wouldn't with either distance so it didn't really matter.

Since my primary focus this year is completing the YRR, I wanted to bank a 200 in case of failure at the Wahine. A nice gentle ride from Bilpin sounded just the ticket :). It gave the bike a good solid workout and re-highlighted the fact my climbing is compromised just at this point, between gearing/fitness/fatness. A fairly conservative ride was done, with the knowledge I had the 1200 less than seven days away.

Still commuted by bike, as much for recovery as anything else, but took it easier than I would normally.

As the rides were so close I went straight from recovery to load feeding. Lots of different carbohydrate sources to break up the monotony and more fluids to help stop dehydration. Also undertook a course of creatine supplementation, which should help with glycogen storage. Studies have supported this idea, but whether it works or not for our type of endurance I don't know. I continued the supplement regime until the day after to possibly aid with returning my glycogen levels to normal.

Went through a checklist of all the gear, including battery chargers, replacement tubes, tools and tyre. Additional kit including cold weather gear.

Nutrition wise the plan was to run three bottles, two of water and one of Perpetuam, with supplemental bars and gels. Eat at all stops and try and avoid as much fried food as possible. Motel had a microwave, so three frozen lasagnes were purchased for the following nights as well as milk, juice and gatorade.

Still felt pretty nervous about the distance, remembering how awful I felt at the end of the 600 the previous season.

Day 1: 376km 25.4km/h Total time: 17:53 Moving: 14.48 Cafe: 3:06
Rolled over to the start and caught up with those riders I'd previously met but hadn't seen recently. Francis and I introduced ourselves to the third 1200 rider Daniel from Hong Kong and encouraged him to join us. We didn't really have a plan beyond riding together, but we settled on attempting to average 20km/h including stops to finish by 1am.

We quickly fell behind the other riders but that was fine as we knew we had the longest to go. We pulled into the first checkpoint just as two of the 1000 riders were leaving. My slow coffee killed our time at that first stop, which annoyed me a bit.

After the first stop I took a long turn at the front. Having done so much solo audaxing I trust my legs to tell what sort of pace I can manage for the day, and with me on the front I don't have to try to manage someone else's pace. Slowing and surging take a great toll on me I have found. So the other two sat in behind and we motored along quite nicely. About halfway to the next checkpoint we caught Ral (who was doing the 1000), he joined our band of merry adventurers and we continued on to the next stop.

Here we worked out we could possibly make it back before midnight without pushing too hard if we managed our time off bike carefully, so that became the new target. We crossed the border twice before arriving at Echuca. Daniel had a flat and replaced both tube and the raggedy tyre he'd been using. Dinner at Shepparton and we had an outside chance at being back by 11pm. The Noodlebox was shut but the burger bar two doors down was excellent and would see repeat trade from us. Final stretch of the day saw us climbing the Warby's before descending into town. No wildlife incidents fortunately but they were spotted both climbing and descending.

We arrived back at Wangaratta at 11.50 inside our adjusted schedule, Ral reckon we saved him 2-3 hours. A 6am restart was agreed and we headed off to our various motels. Milk, shower, lasagne, gatorade, bed.

Day 2: 332km 24.2km/h Total time: 17:09 Moving: 13:43 Cafe: 3:26
More of the same, we were again aiming for 20km/h average. Again good conditions. Three man rotation at the front doing 5km turns. Daniel was struggling with the distance/pace/heat and was working hard to just hang on. Entirely understandable given he wouldn't have come across such long flat sections being ridden in mid to high twenties. Nothing really stood out from the day. Lunch was at Shepparton where we availed ourselves of the burger bar again, this time not buying too much food. Daniel started to find his flow after lunch and joined the rotation so we had a four man rotation with a 15km rest between turns.

We got back about an hour later than planned but still early enough to get a bit more sleep. Another 6am start was planned. Again it was milk, shower, lasagne, gatorade, bed.

Day 3: 294km 22.3km/h Total time: 16:46 Moving: 13:10 Cafe: 3:35
The Queen Stage. Climb up to Beechworth was good. I actually got a little bit ahead here and tried to get some pics of the guys as they came into Beechworth. Wasn't overly successful. Brief cafe stop at Beechworth before heading down the hill. Nice run down apart from the ACT driver who would not overtake me. Bumped into some cows grazing the roadside heading into Wodonga. Did a townie of Wodonga before finding the chicken place/control. Was getting quite warm by this stage. Back out of Wodonga and then crossing the Hume Freeway, which was "fun". Back through Chiltern for another quick stop. Icy Poles were the order of the day, saw at least 32 on the computer. Another uneventful run back into town where we split up and agreed to meet back at the Advance Hotel at 4.30pm.

Should have checked the radar because we ran into a storm. It was still quite warm, which was fortunate as I'd elected to drop my bigger saddle bag, which of course had my wet weather gear in it. About halfway to the control point we stopped for about 10-15 minutes as we couldn't see where we were going. We had two offers of lifts and one of a porch from the locals, who (quite rightly) thought we were mad. The rain eased off and we continued carefully on, ensuring we were well spaced, but didn't lose anyone. Got to the control but the pub was shut. The publican heard us milling about on the verandah and kindly turned his lights and spoke to us for a little while. We headed off again into to some intermittent showers again rolling turns counting off the kms.

No huge issues on the run in to town (I had a momentary panic when my light died). A slightly late return saw Ral finishing his 1000 (and Woodrup). Again a bit later than I had hoped but another slightly longer night's sleep was possible. A revised 6.30 start time was agreed and it was back to the hotel for milk, shower, lasagne, gatorade, bed.

Day 4: 217km 21.6km/h Total time: 12:49 Moving: 10:03 Cafe: 2:46
While we had until midnight to finish, none of us wanted to be out there longer than needed. But also weren't prepared to beat ourselves up and not finish having come so far. Most of the route from Wangaratta to Bright was completed on the rail trail. What a revelation that was. It may have been slower than the road, but the removal of traffic helped reduce a lot of stress on that last day. Bakery stop at Myrtleford which was needed. Bright was very busy and coming out on the way to Harrietville was fairly stressful (for me at least). Lunch at Myrtleford and then a good roll down to Bright. Just as we entered the built up area of Bright I broke a rear spoke. Tucked it in until we got to the park where it got unscrewed and recycled. On to Myrtleford where we had planned to stop at a cafe, but it was shut. Well shutting, they very generously allowed us to get cold drinks and food. Final quick stop at Everton station (retired) before the finish. We had to slow because of a number of roos deciding to shadow us but once back onto the road there were few issues.

I was surprised to realise there were actually people waiting for us to finish. Sarah and Leigh had beer and food (nice). Brevet cards were handed in, photos taken, thanks given and good-byes made.

At the end I felt so much better than at the end of the Temora 600. Reflecting the fact conditions were very moderate and we spent more time as a group.

What worked:
Multiple knicks changes - 3 pairs (2x Castelli, 1x DHB)
Spare shoes
Nutrition - ran a Perpetuam bottle + 2x water bottles. Bars and gels in reserve on bike. Made better choices off the bike. Preparation was good. Having food in the motel, rather than trying to source it at midnight
Having a planned rate of advance of 20km/h inc stops

What didn't:
Forgot heart rate strap - may well need to have an actual checklist
Swapping saddle bags half way through day 3. Wet weather gear was left at the motel. Fortunately it was still warm.
Time off bike

Wheels - my cheap "second" set of wheels having covered 20,000km is increasingly unreliable. New wheels for me
Gloves - hands weren't sore but could probably have benefitted from a different pair to relieve pressure
Roads & drivers - the roads carried higher volumes of traffic than I would normally feel comfortable riding. They generally drove closer and with less courtesy than NSW/ACT drivers in the same situations. Except the P-platers they were extremely well behaved. Sadly we were "punishment passed" with 10kms to go. Straight road, two-way about the width of the Hume Highway carriageway. The driver passed well within a metre of both Francis and Daniel, who were in front of me at the time. It was dark but we all had at least two rear lights and reflective gear. Unfortunately that is the image I'm taking away from the event.

Really this ride was the culmination of my experiences and all those riders who have shared theirs with me. I really enjoy the audax community and the spirit the events are run in

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Replies to This Discussion

Well done. PBP next!

Thanks Neil. Not this time around, I can't afford the divorce :)

Andrew and I are in training for 2023 but Andrew is a little ahead of me with preparation, still more than 4 years to go, Mark will be able to give us tips, some others here might also have useful advice.

Well done Andrew, great write up, thanks.

Dabba, I think Andrew is still using the SMP TRK like the one you didn't get on with.

Thanks Bill

Yes, the SMP TRK is my go to saddle. The Boy has an SMP Extra on the tandem which seems to mostly work for him and I have an Extra on the trainer. I was a bit tender to start on the later days, but after about 15 minutes I was settled in.

My shoes/cleats seem to be the biggest issue just at the moment. Of course buying the wrong size does not help :(

If you need another SMP TRK saddle, I'd be extremely pleased to get rid of one! It's not my shape.

I'd be happy to take it off your hands. Pretty sure I've got a spare postpak kicking about :)

If you're happy to spring for $50 for Selle SMP TRK Medium Gel Saddle, I'll be in the big smoke on Thur/Fri. I'll be near Central from about mid arvo on Thursday, and on Friday morning we'll be waving No 2 son off on the 9 day 1300k Tour de Cure for Cancer at the Seven Studio in Market Place. Let me know what you want to do! ;-)

Sadly (ha) I'm not based in Sydney anymore. Let me work out what I'm doing and I'll DM you

Just saw them roll past the office. Looks like they're an hour late on their schedule :)

Yes they left Martin Place a bit later than planned. Good rollup. About 130+ doing the ride.

My first 14 x 200 were on a TRK and while I can't recall being hugely comfortable I also can't recall being very uncomfortable like more recent saddles. The TRK was good(ish) on both the Vivente and Cannondale but didn't seem to work with the Lynskey, perhaps being a "cheaper" saddle the padding was wearing out by then, I have done 2 more 200s on the TRK & Lynskey since but they were not hugely comfortable.

My next "best" (?) saddle(s) were 3 SAA leather ones with 10 x 200s & 1x300 but while they had a short "comfortable" phase they could also be bad and all stretched out completely in 3,000 (#1) & 4,500 (#2) kms and always had to be adjusted during rides, very annoying, I even "laced" one but it didn't help, #3 got to 50% stretched in only 600kms and was passed on to a better home before I took a hammer to it.

Then there is 7 saddles that have done from 1 to 3 x 200s each, most declared "never again" after one, a couple with more than one but not showing enough promise to continue and a couple that were "ok" but I can't envisage a 300, 400,.....on them. And 3 or 4 saddles that have never got past 100/150 so not gone on for a 200.

Maybe pursuing the "padding gone off" theory I might get another TRK?

Andrew is yours the GEL or basic version?

I do have a Brooks Team Pro (recommended by heaps of Audax veterans) that I am slowly breaking in (only 400km so far), it shows hints of promise but I remain pessimistic for its success, 70km its longest so far.

If I ever solve the saddle issue I will have to find another excuse.

Mine is the basic version. Budget didn't stretch to fancier ones at the time and I'm loath to change

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