Little note on how it all went....
Picked up whad on the way through. He's got new wheels...Mavic...mmm, not K but tasty. They are a little lighter and stiffer than their Shimano equivalents, so it's all good!
After a bit of an adventure finding the side entrance to Shady Acres Caravan Park (gate locked, not signposted) we arrived, had our lights checked (necessary under Audax rules when a ride starts or finishes in the dark) paid our entry fee ($15 for the day, included a feast, of which more later) and met up with rossco, who was up for his first 200.
You'll be surprised to learn that it was cold in Ballarat (I stayed in longs the entire 200 - and actually put on more clothing after lunch)
Most of the riders had ridden from Werribee the previous day and were staying in a giant cabin at the Caravan Park - the ride is actually a 600km, 3 day affair, so we were really the sprinters in the pack!!
First loop was to the south, with the wind at our backs, we set a cracking pace -- 32 km/h average for the first 20kms!! Unfortunately, it proved to be literally a cracking pace for rossco's front derallieur bracket, which snapped coming into the first control. rossco was then converted to single range - Sora has a phillips head screw at the bottom of the chain guide, BTW. (Ultegra does not) Your reporter was trying to disconnect rossco's chain link when wiser heads prevailed!
We came back into the wind, and I blew up a bit when trying to (a) keep the pace up and (b) owing to greasy hands was just going to wait to get back to base camp to feed myself (just stupid). whad was smarter and pulled my head in a bit - made me stop and regroup. I was just being undisciplined - too much hammer down stuff, obviously the mind's still in TT mode - such things can cost you dearly in long distance riding!
rossco decided to call it a day at the 120km mark - still a respectable day in the saddle and finished full of beans, sprinting up the last hills (for him) then vowing to get the bike fixed and be back for the Monday ride.
Had lunch - baked spuds with all the trimmings. A great feed and really welcome, I can tell you. I stuffed down a couple and some Vegemite sandwiches from home!
So it was down to whad & yours truly to knock over the last 80 kms. Not a technically difficult ride, the run up to Clunes and back had a few stings in the tail though, with the worst uphills being in the last 15 kms!
We finished together, just on 17:30, with an average speed of 27 km/h, first back to camp and got back before the dark (so carried the lights for nothing, you could say!) Just gotta say thanks to Merryn & Steve, the organisers. I think everyone had a great day - even rossco with his broken bike was coming back for more!
Hope the return journey went well today...I was on domestic duties