Cycling in Sydney Australia
Zoo2Zoo 2011 Sydney to Dubbo (14-16 Oct 2011)
Day 1: Taronga Zoo to Mt Victoria via Richmond and Springwood (about 165 km).
109 riders started at about 6.00 am from Taronga Zoo and headed off through northern Sydney to Windsor and Richmond. It was to be a long(ish) wet day on the road.
We started in 9 groups with the intention of staying together in those groups for the day. Groups 1 & 2 were designated as fast groups, 3-8 as medium paced and group 9 more leisurely paced. I was allocated to group 2, a fast group. I knew that wouldn't last long with them. Anyone who has ridden with me will know I'm not fast particularly when the road starts heading uphill. At Frenchs Forest I was relegated to group 5. Still I was struggling to keep with the group up hills.
All re-grouped at Wahroonga and continued as a couple of larger groups. A few of us got stuck at traffic lights that changed while most of the group continued. This smaller group of 7 riders stayed together until Richmond where we discovered we had missed a food and drink stop at Scheyville.
When one of the support vehicles pulled over just after Richmond I took the opportunity to refill my water bottles. I headed off on my own through Yarramundi and up the first decent climb of the day to the Hawkesbery Heights lookout where there was another food and drink stop set up.
After refuelling I again set off on my own through Winmalee, Springwood and up the mountains. The lunch stop was set up at Wentworth Falls by which time most were wet and tired. A couple of sangers and a coffee and I was off again.
I made it to Mt Victoria at about 2.45 pm, thankful to be able to shower, change and lay my wet gear out to dry. I was allocated accommodation in The Manor which was very comfortable.
I was fortunate to make it to Mt Vic relatively early. I rode through fog at Blackheath but later groups were diverted to the train at Medlow Bath as the fog had gotten worse and conditions were not safe for cycling.
Day 2: Mt Victoria to Molong via Lithgow (Bells Line), Bathurst and Orange (about 175 km)
Saturday morning greeted us with damp and foggy conditions. Some groups headed off at about 6.15 but reported slippery conditions. One of the riders went down and ended up being taken to Lithgow hospital. Fortunately no breaks but his riding weekend was over.
The remaining groups were delayed at Mt Victoria until conditions improved which meant we didn't get away until 7.40 am.
The ride from Mt Victoria along the Darling Causeway onto Bells Line of Road is undulating but nothing "hilly". Despite that my lack of speed uphill was exposed again as I seemed to be the only person who could not keep up with the group. I was blown and dripping sweat within 20 minutes of heading out of Mt Victoria. Not my ideal way to start a long day of riding.
We negotiated the descent into Lithgow and regrouped at Macca's. At this point I was able to head off on my own to catch up to the leisurely group who had gotten away with the earlier groups from Mt Vic. After meeting up with this group the day was spent slowly heading west.
I had a rear tyre flat just before Bathurst and a front tyre flat just before Orange. There is a lot of debris on the shoulder of the great western highway.
The group were delayed for my flats, others also got flats and others struggled with cramps and other ailments. We were last on the road and hoping to get to Molong before dark.
Outside of Molong a support car pulled up with intentions of taking us off the road and driving us the last 5-10 kms. I dearly wanted to ride the whole distance so took off and rode as hard as I could. I made it to Molong just ahead of the support car bringing in the last riders. I was last to ride in, at 7.00 pm. A long day indeed.
The zoo2zoo riders take up every bit of accommodation in Molong and still some need to be billetted with locals. I was allocated accommodation out of town at the "shearers quarters" which I wouldn't be able to get to until after dinner later that night. I was able to make use of a shower at the motel before heading up to the RSL for the traditional Molong Zoo2Zoo dinner with the locals. The dinner included watching the France-Wales RWC game, a great talk about the Black Dog Institure by David Spindler and the much anticipated Zoo2Zoo Kangaroo Court.
The Kangaroo Court is one of the activities to raise funds for the Black Dog Institute. The court fines riders, usually a gold coin fine, for "offences" such as getting punctures, not getting punctures, having a bell, having fat tyres (that was me), getting lost, etc. Pretty much everyone ended up being fined $5-$10 and great fun was had by all.
Day 3: Molong to Western Plains Zoo, Dubbo (about 115 km).
Dawn at the Shearer's Quarters
The "short" run into Dubbo is a great ride. I have been fortunate in that the two times I have ridden it the weather has been ideal. The country is beautiful, the roads quiet and the 116 km seems relaxing after the previous two days.
We rode to Cumnock where the locals had breakfast waiting for us, bacon and egg rolls and drinks.
Later we regrouped at Wangbangalang before proceeding to Western Plains Zoo at Dubbo.
At the zoo were met by friends and family clapping and sharing the achievement. Win News Dubbo were on hand with camera and reporter as was the Dubbo Mayor.
We were able to ride a lap of the zoo before enjoying a barbecue lunch at the zoo before going our separate ways.
Another great adventure finished and over $100k raised for the Black Dog Institute.
More pictures: here.
September's zoo2zoo: Tractor time - zoo2zoo hits the dirt