RTA Big Ride 2005 diary

Day 9: Robertson -> Kiama (36KM)
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Since today we were to ride down Jamberoo Pass, the police put in place a plan to manage the descent: 17 kilometres out we're to be marshalled in groups of 250 with a police motorcyclist ahead (and no-one must overtake him) and a St. John's vehicle behind. The descent will be closed to all but us. Once at the bottom it will be situation normal. Also, the start time would be early and there would be only a small window during which we were to depart.

I figured that the best plan would be to get away early and not have idiots or unskilled riders around me. Therefore I packed as quickly as possible and was one of the first at the start. James was already there with a few other roadie mates. We chatted with the volunteers who were partly there to prevent anyone from leaving early. James was a bit worried about this most days since he was attempting to be first into camp each day. He had succeeded each day except yesterday when someone cheated. This morning, since they were holding us in a staging area at Kiama before the finish, he didn't care quite so much.

When they let us go, James and Paul were off like a shot. I took off fairly smartly as well, since the tourer can handle a bit like a road bike. For the first couple of kilometres I was third on the road, but gradually my place fell until I was 26th at the 17 kilometre staging area. A few minutes later the first group of 250 was ready. The police sent us off. There was an initial rise and then the almost-freefall descent. At places there were hairpin bends, but we had the whole road road to maneuver. There was one rider ahead who was inexperienced enough to ride right down the centre line, and I had to pick my moment to pass him. However, the rest of the time was scary and exhilarating.

We dropped 650 metres over 10km. There are stretches of road where I could believe the story we were told about how the local BUG walk downhill. If you had to cope with traffic - and they apparently have racing motorcyclists going up and down here - you'd be dead scared as well. It's Tour de France material. Later there was a story that one of the tandem teams had their rear wheel disintegrate under the strain of having the drag brake on constantly. I had a 27km/h average downhill and seriously too much fun. If there were an easy way to get up the top again and ride down immediately, I would have done it. The maximum speed wasn't as fast as down from Charlotte's Pass since today's route was very twisty, unlike the swooping curves on the first day.

Between Jamberoo and Kiama there was one last little hill to climb over, but they didn't slow me down much. I rocked up to the marshalling area at about 10:20 where we had to wait until 11:00 for the mass celebratory finish. They organised us so that the RTA were first and the local BUG were second. Tandems, foldables etc. were supposed to be third, then the plebeians last.

Hay near Jamberoo
Hay near Jamberoo

We rode down that
We rode down that

When we got onto the main street, it was packed with spectators. The whole of Kiama must have been there to greet the BUG members. They even had a brass band. It felt great to ride in, to such clamour. Of course, I had to box the bike immediately, and get it onto the right truck, then wait for the bus. I spent most of the 2 hour ride back zoned out listening to music on the MP3 player.

Packing up at Kiama
Packing up at Kiama

Bobbie was spending the afternoon at her mum's birthday party so she couldn't come and pick me up. As there were so many people needing taxis, I decided that I should put the bike back together and pack everything on it. Then I would ride home. Jacinta, who arrived one of the other buses, asked me if she could borrow my mobile to call for a taxi, and then told them to send everything they had over to pick up the rest of the waiting riders. I asked her for her number since I wanted to see her again, and she gave it to me. Here's hoping.

Soundtrack to a ride

Artist  Song/Album 
Joss Whedon  Firefly theme song 
Andy Partridge  Wonderfalls theme song 
Angelo Badelamenti  Twin Peaks soundtrack 
Splendid  States of Awake 
Gary Jules  Mad world (Donnie Darko soundtrack) 
Echo & the Bunnymen  The killing moon (Donnie Darko soundtrack) 
Joy Division  Love will tear us apart (Donnie Darko soundtrack) 
Duran Duran  Notorious (Donnie Darko soundtrack) 
Tears for Fears  Head over heels (Donnie Darko soundtrack) 
INXS  Never tear us apart (Donnie Darko soundtrack) 
The Barbarellas  Forget about you 
Alan Moore  Sinister ducks 

Ride Statistics

DST  36.61 km 
TM  1:30:36 
Max. speed  66 km/h 
Avg. speed  24.2 km/h 
Avg. RPM  74 
Max. RPM  107 

Overall Statistics

Overall Statistics 
DST  594.31 km 
TM  25:16:35 
Avg. speed  23.51 km/h 

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