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Sunday, April 1, 2012

Monsterbike on the Audax Great Ocean Road 200k, 2012

Part of my bike seat just before the ride

Bike Seat and tailbox

Deans Marsh Cafe, 2012

A previous generation of my bike in Deans Marsh circa 2002.  The sign would have been cropped out but my wife pointed out what it reads!  It only took us 10 years to get the joke.  Tailbox design has not changed much!

Deans Marsh Cafe Circa 2002, Adrian Gotts is sitting on the bike, Ian Knox next to him, Harry Gordon and Rodney Williams standing.

Leaving Deans Marsh Circa 2002, Front to back are Adrian Gotts, Rodney Williams and Paul Sims
For the last 2 years I've done the Audax Great Ocean Road Audax ride and chosen the 150k distance.  A previous blog report is here and here is a bit about the commercial recumbent bike I used in the 2011 ride.

This year I stepped up my training and swapped my irregular 50k round trip train assisted commute for a much more regular, twice weekly 70k, "the full banana by bike" commute.  As well as helping fitness, my riding reduces stress and keeping up these 2 rides a week is important to me.  If I stay in Melbourne, I don't use a car much on weekends and ride around and shop and visit my parents by bike.  Sometimes I do a weekend ride of 120 flat kilometres or so.  With the slight increase in training I decided to take on the 200k GOR Audax ride and emailed and paid the organiser Peter Donnan.

To get the bike in my "Tardis Like" Mazda 121,  I took the whole seat and tailbox assembly off and discovered that the rails of the seat frame had broken and not only that, one of the pieces had fallen off and gone missing.  Now there is an old adage "if it aint broke, don't fix it" but in this case I have extended it a bit, "if it is broke, but it still works, don't fix it".  So the bike stayed as per the photos without problems.  This part of the seat cops a bit of abuse, when I start to ride I plonk my bum heavily on it.....

After an early start in Melbourne, I was in Anglesea at about 7:30am on the day of the ride.  There was registration, toilet break, reassemble bike, lights check, pick up route map and brevet card, pack things in the back of the bike, check drink bottle all before the start which I made just in time for the 8am roll out.  I led the pack for all of 200m when people started passing me.

By about 2k out of town I was with some ladies at the back of the bunch and I stayed within touch of them for most of the ride.  I was faster into the headwinds and downhill (aerodynamics maybe) but got beat on the uphill (heavier 81kg guy on heavier 17kg bike maybe) and overall as well.  Anyway, one of the girls I was riding with was Heather, she'd done a 200k Audax ride every month for many months on end so knew her stuff.  A quick seach of Google found her GPS log here.)

As mentioned the start was in Anglesea, and this was a  hard ride through Moriac, Deans Marsh, Lorne, Apollo Bay, back to Lorne, then back to Anglesea.  I only managed to take one photo but scanned some older photos of an OzHpv recumbent trip through Deans Marsh which I present for your pleasure.  

There were some bits of the ride that were a struggle, like riding uphill out of Deans Marsh, and rounding a bluff into a headwind on an uphill stretch and wobbling all over the joint.  And riding into Apollo Bay, feeling completely knackered knowing that after Apollo Bay there were 75k hilly k's to go.

The lows were more than compensated for by the highs.  Cruising on the Great Ocean Road on a recumbent, downhill with a tailwind, there is not a sportscar built that would be a better ride.  With the low gears from the Schlumpf mountain drive, the hills on the way back ended up being long and irritating rather than horrendous obstacles.

I finished the 200k ride in 11 hours which is about an 18k average and considered it a job well done.  The 150k would have been a doddle but the 200 stretched me a bit.  About the only mistake I made was leaving the sunscreeen in the car!

Recumbent riders in 2012 is somewhat like surfers in 1961.  A lot of riders know each other, and even if they don't, they're prepared to stop and chat to other riders.  The roads are not crowded with recumbent riders.  So when Richard Harker passed me he pulled over to the side of the road, we talked for 5 minutes or so and then went on our respective ways.  There were about 5 or 6 other recumbent riders I saw including Rob Leviston."Riggsbie" who I waved to along the way wrote about his 150k ride here.

So..... err.... now, the next question is, do I do more Audax rides, less or what?  Not sure.  Happy with the bike as it goes.....  Peter Donnan was most encouraging at the end of the ride.  We'll see what happens!  But, for 2012 at least my homage to the Great Ocean Road is done.

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