I rode the 2017 Gong Ride yesterday. Unfortunately Danya couldn’t make it – he came down with a cold on Friday and wasn’t able to recover in time. Given the weather, I’m glad he didn’t try and push himself to ride; it was quite wet and cold at times. The number of participants was perhaps slightly smaller due to the conditions but it was still a large number of cyclists involved. Given the chaos around Sydney Park, due to the State Government’s motorway mess, the ride started at Tempe Recreation Reserve. I rode the 8km warm-up from my place to the start and then immediately started on the ride itself. Overnight it has rained fairly hard, and was still drizzling on the way to the start and continued to do so on and off until Loftus. The temperature stayed around 12 degrees but dipped lower going through the Royal National Park. I had thought about removing my rain gear just before Waterfall but then the skies opened up again and it dumped on us quite heavily for a short while.
After lunch, I rode up the hill to Stanwell Tops where I could see that it looked to be merely overcast along the coast so I removed the rain coat and pants. It was still a bit nippy but the temperature rose to around 17 degrees for most of the rest of the ride. I was amused to see one guy wearing knicks, suspenders and a helmet with antlers bolted onto it who must have been quite cold by the time we hit Stanwell Park. His mates, dressed as Santas and riding a tandem, looked much warmer 🙂 At about 10km to go, the temperature dropped again and I could see rain clouds to the south west of Wollongong which swept up towards us. I was wearing a gilet over my jersey and that was enough to keep my core warm and dry, as the rain was not too heavy and passed us after about 5km.
I finally reached the finish about 13:15, which meant I took just over 6 hours; a slow one, but the wet conditions meant it was better to be slower and safe, especially down the drop from Waterfall into the park and and from Stanwell Tops down to Stanwell Park; there were very few kamikaze riders barrelling downhill this year and we all rode conservatively in the bunch. There were still a few incidents as people slipped out or misjudged their braking capabilities in the wet and needed an ambulance, but I didn’t see or hear of anything serious.
Anyone who wishes to help my fundraising efforts and hasn’t, can still donate to me here. I offer a big thank you to those who have already donated, and encourage others to help a worthy cause – that being supporting research into Multiple Sclerosis, and providing help to those suffering the disease.
The link to see my ride data in RideWithGPS is here, btw.