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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Winter Surf Ride

On the way out from Bell's Beach
At Airey's Inlet with Rory in the Background

Last weekend I participated in a new Victorian Audax 200k Ride, the Winter surf ride from Werribee to Aireys Inlet organised by Phil Giddings (thanks Phil!) .  This was to be my first 200k on a wooden recumbent, but at the time of the ride the wooden bike I made was in less than super condition and I opted to ride anyway on my aluminium framed recumbent.  And this turned out to be all for the best, although not long by Audax standards it was tough.  Even with the frame in good nick, my "woody" was not quite up to the standard of my slightly older bike and it ended up I needed every bit of performance and reliability from the bike.

For training I was slightly underdone - ideally I would have had 2 solid weeks of 2x70k round trip commutes and 120k or so weekend rides but this was slightly interupted between one thing and another and I only managed one 120k ride before the event.

Emails went back and forth about the ride and a few days before I had committed myself to it.  The night before the ride I swapped the really cheap speedo on the aluminium bike for a new one which (Hallelujah!) resets the tripmeter after a short button press.  As well I cut up and scribbled over an old Melways so had maps of most of the terrain we were covering. A few weeks before, Christine and I had traversed the route by car.

So, 8am start from Werribee on a dog's leg of a route North of the Prince's Highway.  The only person I knew on the ride was Rick Harker, I've been with him on several Audaxs including this year's Victorian Oppy.  He's faster and fitter than me but both of us were doing quite well on the stretch to Geelong, passing all but 2 of the 10 or so upright cyclists on the ride.  Coming into Geelong Rick pulled out in front and Rory caught up.  Rory and I navigated through Geelong together, I knew the first bit well and Rory was able to ride along no hands reading the route notes no (like a professional) and get us through town and onto the back road to Torquay (Horseshoe Bend Road).  Rory ploughed on when I stopped to have a pee and I didn't see any other Audax riders till near Airey's Inlet.  There were some short sharp hills I had to walk up near Bell's Beach and outside of Anglesea and marvellous views of rolling surf from Anglesea to Airey's Inlet. 

So halfway by about 12:30, time to have lunch and talk to a few locals I knew, Airey's Inlet being my main stomping ground, holiday & surfing spot for a long time.  Then on to Anglesea and up the hill to Forest Road and through beautiful bushland.  Tried taking a movie but didn't work the camera properly but the time spent taking the film became etched in my brain instead.  Yellow and pink flowers in the green bush and views of distant hills through the trees.

Towards Moriac the weather started to cut up rough with rain and a howling westerly wind.  After a stop to put a rain jacket on, I kept going although progress was difficult in the crosswind.  The official route would have taken me further north but I was fairly beaten by the rain and turned right on to the Princes Highway and was picked up by the strong wind and blown towards Waurn Ponds.  After a bit of mucking round on bike paths I reached a restaurant of the Golden Arches thoroughly soaked.  After 1/2 hour or so of civilised warmth and a cup of tea and some toast, the rain had stopped and I continued on, my soaking clothes gradually drying themselves in the breeze.  It was about 40k to Werribbee along the Princes and I got back there about 7pm, happy to have done the job in difficult circumstances. There were a few others at the end, just arriving or drying off in their cars.  I think all the people who'd faired best had (like me), sheltered and fed themselves during the storm.

Ok, all for now, writing this on the Wednesday after the ride, thoroughly dried out by now!


Steve Nurse

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