This time last Sunday, I was about ready to crash into bed (8pm) – after a big day of riding. It was the annual “Around The Bay In A Day” bike ride – with nearly 15,000 people participating.
There were a choice of rides – the full 210km, and an extended 250km (!) – as well as 100km, 135km and a 50km ride.
A bunch of guys from work and I had booked to do the 100km ride – starting in Sorrento – and then riding to Melbourne.
I hadn’t ridden any further than 60km before – although, that was a BIG ride in itself, with a climb to the top of Mount Dandenong. The Sorrento ride was mostly flat – and so I figured 100km should be fairly straight-forward.
I cleaned up my ‘road bike’ – and we loaded up to drive down to the coast – to drop me off, and then I’d ride home (so to speak).
Specialized Sectuer – ready for duty !
Loaded up on the pack rack – saw lots of other bikes heading down there too !
I headed down to Sorrento on the Saturday afternoon – with Donna and the kids. We dropped off my bike at the ‘stay-over house’ – and then took off to the beach.
Nice & calm down on the sand – the kids had a great time digging, and throwing shells. Lucky lads – only a week prior, we’d been on the beach in Adelaide !
The OBS/Nintex guys had rented a house – Donna and the kids stayed for dinner (big pasta carb-load) – and then they took off home. We all sorted out our bike numbers and such – and then sat around having a chat, before an early night (bed at 10pm !)
The next day – we were up early, and left the house at 7.30am. A quick ride into Sorrento from where we were staying (Blairgowrie) – and met up with another Nintex rider.
In total – there were SIX of us, and we planned to ride in a group – not a race, but just a nice ride-day with friends.
It was a very well organised starting grid – close to a thousand people (?) in the main street – all riding in a pack.
We had to really make sure to keep some distance between other riders – and didn’t want to overtake and ride quickly – dangerous, plus – we had a long ride ahead of us !
The initial 25km just disappeared very quickly – we almost blinked, and we’d been riding for an hour. Some drizzley rain, and a little cold, but so nice to look out to the left, and see the sun over the bay – and the view of the beach.
We had to stop and answer the phone – the wives/partners weren’t sure where to lock the house from the night before – LOL !
Otherwise, the pack just streamed along – and was a 30 km/h pace, without much effort at all.
We then headed inland – and to “the hills” – not much from my reckoning, after riding up to The Dandenongs – but a climb none-the-less.
One of my friends (Matt) changed gears to start the climb – and his chain fell off – oops ! So – he up-ended his bike to fix it – and his drink bottle rolled away. He was just next to a turning lane. and the bottle rolled towards a car waiting for riders to pass – and got stuck under the front wheel (was a Mercedes too – ha ha !!)
We re-mounted, and took off up the hill – and heard another buddy (Ben) call out “see you at the top !” – as he raced DOWN the hill we were climbing up – WTF !?
He’d finished the climb, and rode down – so that he could “have another climb”.
We re-grouped at the top – one rider (Paul) nearly fell off as he sprinted to the side of the road, and into the trees – he’d been ‘holding on’ since we left Sorrento – and was using that as motivation for the hill climb. Yep – he made it !
Was a nice ride DOWN hill from there – we hit over 60 km/h – even the slowest of our group (Terry) – on a Giant Elwood – his hybrid commuter bike.
Speaking of bikes, we had a mixed bunch of ‘brands’ – two Specialized’s (my Secteur – and a Tarmac) – a Trek, a Giant, a Felt and a Masi – lost of variety !
We stopped for a leg stretch and water fill-up – somewhere around Mornington – good to catch our breath – and we pushed on, with signs heading towards Frankston.
A really nice roll down Oliver’s Hill – great view over the bay – again, over 60 km/h.
And – then it was pretty much FLAT for the rest of the way.
By now, we’d ridden close to 60km – and were around Seaford/Carrum. And the ride suddenly got tough. The WIND was blowing a gale over the bay – and it was getting really tough riding into the wind.
Legs were starting to disobey the brains wishes, and I was almost thankful for some red traffic lights – so that I was forced to stop for a second. I’ll remember Edithvale and Aspendale a little LESS fondly – was really tough !
We re-grouped with everyone in Mordialloc – and had a 10-15 minute break. We could’ve set off sooner, but Ben and I grabbed a ‘gourmet sausage’ from the BBQ – and Terry had a coffee. The other lads were itching to go, and nearly took off without us…!
The next stretch was essentially ‘Beach Rd’ – familiar territory for lots of Sunday cyclists – but I hadn’t ever ridden it.
The rain/drizzle began again – along with the wind – was just forcing ourselves forward for a while – through Beaumaris, Black Rock, Sandringham – until we got to Brighton.
The road winds away from the shore, and we had some relief from the wind. *phew*
It became a nice ride again (!) – and we rolled through to St.Kilda – and re-grouped just behind Luna Park. An area I was familiar with – but not by bike – to some of my buddies surprise !
Port Melbourne was next – and into the CBD – and we were close to the finish. I suddenly got a renewed burst of energy (relief and/or adrenaline ?) – and so I was charging along.
Then we heard “puncture !!” – and Ben was our first (and last) puncture of the day. He changed the tyre in a lightning quick F1 style change – and we headed off for the last 3-4 kilometres.
After close to 4 hours and 30 mins, we got to the finish line – bunched up six-abreast with my riding friends – we made it !
Was a great achievement (for me at least) – the furthest distance I’d ridden.
My actual time was 4:27:02 – with around 4 hours of riding – and 1/2 hour of breaks.
We even got a medal – nice !
The recording from my iPhone (Strava) shows it as 98.6km – close enough I guess !
After we’d had some lunch, I headed for the train – and loaded up my bike and bag – and napped for most of the trip back to Glen Waverley.
And THEN – had to cycle home from the train – another 5-6 km.
The next day ?
I wasn’t TOO sore actually – less than I thought I might be – only some soreness in the hips – and calf muscles – and sore EYES – from all that wind.
Oh yes – and some sunburn – but this was “all” I had (missed a bit !)
Lucky I’d put on a stack of suncream – otherwise I woulda been fried !
So – that’s “Around The Bay In A Day” ! Next year ? Maybe 135km – or go for the full 210 km – will have to wait and see.
I’m already looking (considering ?) another bike ride in January – but fairly ambitious, and lots of ‘climbing’ – which could be a great challenge – have to wait and see, eh ?
For now – I’m hoping to do some more MTB’ing – already been out to Lysterfield once, and want/need to get up to Mt.Buller over summer – and Castlemaine->Bendigo.
Phew ! Life is a ride, that’s for sure.