The Test Run:
One word, ‘Brutal’.
Rolled out from home nice and early and detoured for a few extra km’s via Beach Road and up to SBR
Jmcleod also turned up at SBR. Before long we took off for the ride up Chapel Street. My comment to Jim was I could see only one reason, (or several of them)
, for riding up Chapel Street. There were obstacles, cars entering/turning, pot holes and tram tracks to contend with. Anyway enough of that.
At this point there were only six of us and we picked up a couple more before we continued up and across that wooden cycling bridge over the Yarra.
As we came around the corner into Yarra Boulevard and under the bridge there were about 60-70 riders waiting. They kindly let us past and then all joined on the back. To this point there were only a few sharp climbs to get things warmed up. But man we were in store for some nastiness……
The group was split in two at the exit off the Boulevard at Chandler?? Hwy. Around this point another 50 or so riders joined.
As we eventually got started again and headed off down Doncaster Road the group came back together. We continued out where there was a climb which ended with a large church spire on the RHS of the Road, (I think it was somewhere around Balwyn Road). It was at this point that I started feeling every one of my 90kg and wondering how much further I would make it. Regardless gritted the teeth and kept soldiering on.
We hit red lights at Doncaster and the Eastern Freeway. Jim looked over at me and said, ‘how are you going’. Rather timely he said that prior to the nasty climb up to Doncaster.
The climb up to Doncaster shopping town was long and arduous to say the least. Starting to fall off the back of the bunch by now but made it up and still in time to have a brief rest at the way point. Then a flat out descent down Williamsons Road before another steep climb on the other side.
I found by this point I had settled, both mentally and physically, with a limit with which I thought I might be able to finish the route. Whether or not this would be enough to finish with the group remained to be seen.
This was followed by more up and up until it seemed for quite a while we were descending. For me this was worrying knowing that we would have to be going up again soon.
I was mentally preparing all day for this Burgundy Street climb and knew it was getting close. By this time Jim and I were on the back of the bunch and I was still holding on.
Because of the size of the group we were at the back of a double split by the time we had our lash at the Burgundy Street climb. We could see the lead bunch getting further and further ahead as we waited at no less than four sets of red lights. As Jim said we had the moral high ground on the few that went through. I replied, that’s not going to help us climb it though. We both had a bit of a laugh knowing that we would not benefit from the way point at the top of the climb.
Once we got clear of the lights the climb was on. I managed to round up a few on the way up but the HR was going through the roof. As has been said that last 20-30m of the climb as you turn left is the worst part. But made it and we reconnected with the bunch at the bottom of Banksia Street. (Starting to think to myself, ‘hey I might actually make this’)
Then we’re off along Lower Heidelberg Road and towards the ‘cutting’. I know this ones a hard climb in the car, let alone on the bike. Pick my gear at the bottom and take it all the way to the top. Actually make up some ground which is nice.
Then we rolled through the roundabout and into some nice downhill. Only bad was the black Mercedes driver who pulled turned right in front of another guy and myself causing some major emergency braking and a few choice words.
Once back on Heidelberg Road we rolled along towards the city where the group steadily broke up and everyone went there own way. Said bye and thanks to Jim at Chandler Hwy and then rode back through the city.
Continued on down St.Kilda Road and forged into the brisk Southerly before arriving home very spent but happy all the same.
Certainly a much different ride than around the NRR track. At the points when I was struggling up those climbs it all seemed crazy. But the closer I got home the better I felt. It is a great ride to add to the training schedule for anyone interested. Pretty well behaved too for a group that was probably over 100 at times.
I’ll be back next week for the Forumites lash at ATOS.
For the record 635m vertical door to door from home.