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Monday, March 18, 2013

President's Peddlers Oppy Team

Simon and his motor-vehicular counterpart in Echuca

Crossing into New South Wales near Echuca

Before the ride at Rochester Motel

Peter, Simon, Rick at the Motel

Crossing into New South Wales near Echuca

President Peter

Near Katemetite

Rick near Katemetite
The "Oppy" is an Audax Australia 24 hour ride named in honour of Hubert Opperman and run in every state and territory where there's an Audax long distance cycling club.  You can click on this link for details.  To complete an Oppy, a group of 3 to 5 riders must ride more than 360k to a particular destination and have their rides recorded on Brevet cards.  I was invited to attend and was really glad of it, the whole 24 hours was quite an experience.  Our team consisted of Simon Watt, Rick Harker, myself and Pete Mathews. Stephen Rowlands was in at the start but had work commitments.  Unfortunately, Pete did his back just before the ride and he couldn't take part actively, but supported us when he could.  My own back was crook a few weeks previously but I came out of the soreness in time.  That was lucky, we were down to the minimum number as it was.

So we all arrived in Rochester Motel ok on the Friday night, had a good sleep and headed out 8am Saturday at a good pace, 28kph or so without much wind through Echuca and then on to Nathalia for an early lunch or morning tea. Cyclists are always hungry, you just eat when you can and don't call it anything other than welcome.  Then on to Katamatite through a little bit of rain.

We were riding in a pace line on the quiet roads.  I don't know if this helps you aerodynamically but morally it certainly does, you can just lead and keep up a certain pace or follow and do the same.  Apart from lights, my sole piece of gizmo was a cheap speedo and the callibration was out on that (28 kph reading as 31 or somesuch),  but at least it helped me stay at steady speed and not hare off in a wild fit of enthusiasm.

We should have gone left to Yarrawonga at Katemetite but in a comedy of errors including missed phone calls (we had a Tracker on Simon's bike which let Pete observe our waywardness from afar) and hilly terrain which left us more than usually separated, we did not turn back for 30k or so!  Not terribly happy but we plugged on back to Katemetite, visited the General store and refuelled and then went on to Yarrawonga reaching a servo and convenience store on the outskirts around dusk.

Some tough riding into the wind back to Katemetite, we were only doing 19kph or so.  At Katemetite we stopped and chatted to a lady supporting another team.  At that stage "only 45k" to Shepparton and "only 62k" on from Shep to Rochester and sleep.

Dinner break at Shepparton McDonald's, they have all the food groups for the travelling cyclist, caffeine, fat, carbohydrate, sugar and a cocktail of salts!  We spoke to a policeman who was a cyclist himself and of course were immediate best mates.  Simon managed to sleep for a few minutes, I managed to shiver for a few minutes and then it was on to Rochester.

Fortunately Rick's GPS was in good order and we managed a direct route back from Shepparton to (at last) Rochester. Riding in the middle of the night was sublime, it wasn't freezing cold, we had good lights and a tailwind and could ride without danger in the middle of the wide roads.  We arrived in Rochester at 4am and were greeted by Peter.  I grabbed a cheese sandwich and some milk and headed to bed for 2 hours shut eye.  At 6 am the alarm went off and I've never been jolted from a deep sleep so violently.  Part of the Oppy rules say you need to do 25k in the last 2 hours and we managed that with a brisk run down to Elmore and back.  At the end of 24 hours we had done a lazy 410k, not bad for a few old hacks on recumbent bikes.

The whole thing was by no means easy, and it was only through careful fettling of bikes (in my case tyres, suspension, rear wheel disk) and body (2 100k rides in the week before the ride) that I could make it.  As well my completely unpadded hard shell seat gets a bit uncomfortable 140k or so into a ride and some padding is really necessary for these distances. Will work on that!

Rick at Echuca (Photo Simon)

Steve at Echuca (Photo Simon Watt)

Its done.  At the Oppy statue in Rochester. (Photo Peter Mathews)

Almost there, finishing the ride in Rochester (Photo Peter Mathews)

Here is my video:
And here is Simon's:
Here is Simon's write up on the Geelong Touring Cyclists page (click on 3):

As mentioned, Simon carried Peter's spotter tracker and recorded our progress in real time on the interweb thingy,  here is the link.  The out and back track at lower right was our detour!

For all the hard work you get (several months later) this rather fancy-pants, French ratified certificate.

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