I rode the ‘Gong yesterday. It was clear when I got up at 5:30, with a hint of clouds to the east, and they rolled in a bit by 7:00 when Danya, Duncan and I got to the start. I don’t know if it rained at all in Sydney but all we got was cool and generally overcast skies until we hit the coast at Stanwell Tops. After that it was reasonably warm and humid all the way to the end.
The start was staggered, like last year, which meant that we didn’t get underway until about 7:30. That, along with the lower numbers meant that – same as last year – we didn’t have to bunch at Waterfall for supervised small groups riding down the hill. Apparently there was an accident there and it doesn’t surprise me since the road was wet and slippery all the way through the park.
Duncan set off fast from the start – apparently he planned on riding back, although that didn’t happen. We didn’t see him until Wollongong. A couple of other friends of Danya, that we didn’t see at the start did ride back, but I haven’t heard how they fared.
Danya kept his own pace again – this is his third year doing it! I only recalled two when we were chatting – and we met up at the morning tea stop at Loftus and at the lunch stop at Red Cedar Flats. He’d eaten lunch by the time I arrived so I didn’t hang around longer than to eat my roll. Maybe if I’d stopped and rested a bit longer, I wouldn’t have got such a bad headache later.
Danya took off up the hill and waited for me at Stanwell Tops, and we were held up for about 5 minutes at the top of the drop into Stanwell Park. At the bottom, we passed a fully-loaded tourer about to start climbing the hill going the other way – I reckon that’d be a nasty climb under load.
I kept on at my own pace, and Danya waited for me at the top of the climb at Clifton and again at Woonoona East, where he said that he’d received a text from Duncan saying that he had reached the end and wasn’t riding back because of a bad cramp. We ended up getting there about 45 minutes after him – about 13:15 – and found that the finish was a mud pit. It’d obviously been raining in Stuart Park over the last few days and all the cycle traffic caused a ton of mess.
Danya and I found food and ate it, then we all headed for the train station and caught a train back to St Peters. City Rail were providing $5 tickets to anywhere in the network, which was nice. Danya was fast asleep by the end of the ride and we had to scuttle off the train after waking him :); I was just listening to music and trying to ignore a headache that was getting worse. After I got home, I jumped in the shower and then headed straight to bed with some Panadeine.
It’s amazing how the trip home on the train causes me to feel so much worse than I did relaxing with food and a drink at the finish line 🙁 Still, I finished in a reasonable time and I did promise to suffer for the money raised 🙂 So far that’s $455 towards my goal of $500, which isn’t bad.