The ‘Gong Ride was held last Sunday. It was a full-on day with an amazing turnout. Danya and I turned up to the start about half an hour early, hoping to get away before the scheduled 7:30 start-time we’d been allocated; we were shambling along with the mob towards the start banner for almost the entire half-hour.
Looking at the rider numbers on display, it was obvious that about 15,000 people had registered, and a good percentage of them were there at the same time as we were. It was almost easier to walk the bike for the first few hundred metres, due to the crowd, and once we hit the Princess Highway at Cambell Road St. Peters we were forced to stop and almost-walk again due to the congestion. It wasn’t until after Canal Road and almost into Tempe that the crowd thinned enough for a decent speed.
Danya and I rode together for most of the way to Heathcote, at which point I told him to stretch his legs. I had been forced to ride the touring bike due to a last-minute flat tyre on the road bike, and I was having to push an extra 7 or so kilograms up the hillsÂ (plus he’s younger and fitter), so he arrived at the lunch stop a few minutes ahead of me.
We rode together again for a while until about Scarborough, at which point he took off again. Still, he arrived at the finish only a couple of minutes ahead of me. Having Danya as the carrot gave me impetus to keep my pace up, and I averaged 18.7 km/h, which is not too bad for me over such terrain, as I normally average closer to 15 or 16km/h on the touring bike. Neither of us was too pooped at the end, but the train ride back was hot and stuffy and the cause of arriving home with an aching head.
Overall it took us about 4:30h on the bike; closer to 5:45h on the trip down and another 1:30h back on the train. My MS Society fundraising target was $200, which has been surpassed, with around $250 being raised. I’m hoping that more will be added to that, bringing the total closer to $300. Anyone who wishes to donate (an amount welcome, anything over $2 is tax deductible), should go here
I recorded my ride, and the map and heart-rate and elevation details etc. are available on MotionBased for those who are interested in evidence of my effort (or you could click on the above map).