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Thursday, November 1, 2012

GSR1000 2012

Christine & Duncan at Airey's Inlet

Duncan, Paul, Henry

Duncan & Carbent

Peter Matthews

End of Day 1, Henry and bikes in Cobden Hilton

"You're Gonna put your faith in me / When I'm lit up like a Christmas tree" (Triffids / Hell of a Summer lyric coopted for description of Henry's night reflective gear)

Off - Audax: Henry and my bike between Cobden and Colac

Henry on the road

Paul's Metaphysic

One of the 1200k riders: only 30k or so to go.....
and these guys were all riding in a bunch with a massive tailwind
After the GSR, spending a great day relaxing with family on the Surfcoast, surfing, visiting op shops and skateparks, and listening to music on the car's mp3 doodah.  And the occasional cheering of passing GSR cyclists.

Its Thursday night and I have been home from the 1000k Great Southern Randonnee for just over a day, but unfortunately I didn't finish it. Will tell that story now!

Audax is an International Long Distance Cycling Organisation and you actually don't know about the international bit until you attend a recognised 1200k ride.  These rides are held in many countries around the world but only happen in a given place every 4 years.  The great - grand - poobah ride of them all is the Paris - Brest - Paris ride which is huge and well known in cycling circles but there are many other great internationals as well.  The Great Southern Randonnee is one of these!

I signed up for the GSR1000 months before the event was due and spent many weeks training, doing extra commutes, finding out about cycling nutrition, doing 200 and 300k rides, riding up and down hills constantly for 4 hours at a stretch.  But tough Audax cycling doesn't start till about 400k, and a few recumbent Audaxers told me so!

For me the event started when we met Duncan McDonald at Geelong for a small ozhpv event we organised there.  Duncan lives in New Zealand and has organised Audax rides there, he's involved in the recumbent and Human Powered vehicle scene there as well.  New Zealand Audax held its first 1200k ride a few months ago and 9 riders took part, 3 were from New Zealand and the rest were from Australia, the U.S. and other parts of the globe. Now 7 of those 9 are in the Great Southern Randonee!

So, to the rides.  The 1200k ride started on Monday night and I was there to film the start with Duncan.  The only 2 recumbents were a guy from Seattle and Peter Heal from Canberra.

Duncan and I were "on" the next morning and organised a lift from Airies Inlet to Anglesea.  Duncan was due to do 300k on Tuesday and 300 on Thursday, and I was up for 1000k, Tuesday morning to Friday morning.  But there was a devil lurking, the heat.  It was due to be 30 degrees C and the hottest day of the spring.

Set off fine and cruised to Apollo Bay.  It was a real pearler of a day, fine rolling waves coming in off Bass Straight, a few surfers dotted around the ocean.  Paul on his Metaphysic and Peter Matthews kept me company, and the road offers plenty of zoomy downhills to slip away from upright riders and enjoy.  Hot by Apollo Bay and I abandoned my (sun blocking but warming) leg tights and long shirt in favour of short sleeved-shirt, nude legs and sunscreen.  Most riders were fine although Duncan came in a bit late.  Big hills out of Apollo bay and 2 lots of them leading up to Lavers Hill.  A few strong riders powered on ahead of me but I started having trouble, some slow speeds and some get-off and walks.  My speedo is a fairly new accessory and I can report that 4.6 or so kph is walking and my minimum speed is 7 or so.  Gears are low enough but it gets a bit wobbly and stressful!

Anyway, there are others struggling up the hill and I passed one gentleman on an upright who was walking and not in real good shape.

Got to Lavers hill by soon after 4pm, had a drink and something to eat but was a bit sick in the stomach.  Reached 73k or so on the downhill after Lavers, took a phone call from Jamie Friday and whooshed past some resting touring cyclists at about 40kph.  Riding no hands.  Much to their bemusement!

Close to Port Campbell I caught up with Henry who was to be my ride companion for the next day.  He was going quite slow like me and we chatted a bit and rode into Port Campbell about 1/2 an hour before the checkpoint closed.  A few of the 1000k riders were there and generally  despondent, and a couple of others arrived in a bit later.  Paul had been helping the gentleman who'd had trouble on the way up to Laver's Hill who had been picked up by the sag / first aid wagon.  One rider had done a hamstring, two felt weak and didn't want to go on.  Hadn't seen Duncan or Peter Matthews.  Henry and I ate and drank, slothed around a bit and generally recovered.  Henry had a shower and after Audax formalities we agreed to ride on together.   Henry had done two Paris-Brest-Paris rides so I thought, yeah, fine, he knows his stuff. 

Soon after Port Campbell we fell in with a fine gentleman, road bike rider and farmer, Craig, who was out for a training ride and we chatted for a while on the road to Timboon.  It was dark by this time but riding was no hassle with good lights and reflective stuff.

We were going along ok but went straight through Timboon where a left was on the route map.  We had no sat nav or maps and realised we were off course about 5k later.  We didn't turn back but compounded our error and eventually decided to give up the ride and bail it to a nearby town to sleep and await for a bakery to open.  After a few tries, Henry got through to mission control and reported our whereabouts, and we rode on to Cobden where (at 11:30 on a Tuesday night away from holiday season) you guessed it, nothing was happening.

Quite close to the town's public toilets, and beside a Church hall, Henry and I crashed out for the night.  Somewhere amongst all the advice, someone said it was a good idea to take a space blanket.  And it was a good idea, I had purchased said space blanket for the princely sum of $4.00 and I used it.  The night was very warm and I think I got in an hour or two's sleep.

We decamped by about 6 and plonked our bums outside the bakery till it opened at 7, then had breakfast of pies and custard tart.  Yes, we do all the gourmet stuff!

Back in to Anglesea via Colac and Birregurra, it was another hot day and we passed lush pasture fields and drystone wall fenced farms.  Not much traffic and usually downhill with a tailwind.  Quite a bit of chatting with Henry and we got in to Anglesea about 2:30pm I think. Shook hands with Henry when we arrived, he seemed quite fit and he and went off for a swim.  By way of contrast,  I was knackered and after a shower and an hour's sleep plodded back to Airey's Inlet.

So for me,  that was it bar the shouting.  Will follow up with more news and gossip, cycling fashion tips etc. after the post-ride barbecue tomorrow.


Steve Nurse

PS Here is the link to the rider chart for the GSR (click on 1000) - note that only 2 out of 12 finished the 1000k ride.  



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