Author Archives: B1

About B1

Dragon got me into the 2011 Gong Ride. Started training occasionally and enjoyed it. Got a proper bike Jan 2012. Met SatNav and the ERs shortly after. Started riding more and more and finally daily. Clutters got me on a Flutter mid 2012 - that nearly killed me but I loved it! Started doing longer and harder rides, always chasing an ER. Completed three 3 Peaks rides and a Fitzs Extreame. Moving into Audax rides. Ride Hobbits in and out most days.


Originally by A.B. “Banjo” Paterson

There was movement in the peleton, for the word had passed around
That the steed of Eddy Merckx had got away,
And had joined the wild Mountain Bikes – it was worth a thousand pound,
So all the cracks had gathered to the fray.
All the tried and noted riders from the Pelotons near and far
Had mustered at the homestead overnight,
For cyclists love hard riding where the wild Mountain Bikes are,
And the stockbike snuffs the climb with delight.
There was Finchi, who made his pile when Cadel won the cup,
The old man with his hair as white as snow;
But few could ride beside him when his blood was fairly up –
He would go wherever bike and man could go.
And Clutters of Canoon came down to lend a hand,
No better rider ever cleated in;
For never a bike could throw him while the skewers threads would stand,
He learnt to ride over Stromlo way.

There was SatNav on his single speed, calm and collected,
with wit as dry as dry.
There was Flash, all sort of hairy,
and Norman, no rider had quite the staying power over the long and windy.
Young Drastic came along, to keep the group in check,
lest any should make some smart remark.

And one was there, a stripling on a small and scratched frame,
It was something like a roadbike undersized,
With a touch of Raleigh – three parts SWorks at least –
And such as are by mountain bikers prized.
It was hard and tough and wiry – just the sort that won’t say die –
There was courage in its quick and lively sprocket;
And it bore the badge of gameness in his bright and fiery gleam,
And the proud and lofty carriage of its rider.

But still so slight and weedy, one would doubt its power to stay,
And the old man said, “That bike will never do
For a long a tiring sprint – girl, you’d better stop away,
Those hills are far too rough for such as you.”
So she waited sad and wistful – only PD stood her friend –
“I think we ought to let her come,” he said;
“I warrant she’ll be with us when she’s wanted at the end,
For both her steed and she are Collaroy bred.

“She hails from Snowy River, up by Kosciusko’s side,
Where the hills are twice as steep and twice as rough,
Where a bikes wheels strike firelight from the flint stones every peddle stroke,
The woman that holds her own is good enough.
And the Snowy River riders on the mountains make their home,
Where the river runs those giant hills between;
I have seen full many mountain biker since I first commenced to roam,
But nowhere yet such rider have I seen.”

So she went – they found the steeds by the big mimosa clump, (just South of the Bridge) –
They raced away towards the mountain’s brow,
And the old man gave his orders, “Boys, go at them from the jump,
No use to try for fancy riding now.
And, Drastic, you must wheel them, try and wheel them to the right.
Ride boldly, boy, and never fear the spills,
For never yet was rider that could keep the steeds in sight,
If once they gain the shelter of the autobus.”

So Drastic rode to wheel them – he was racing off the front
Where the best and boldest riders take their place,
And he raced his steed past them, and he made the ranges ring
With the sound of his whoop, as he met them face to face.
Then they halted for a moment, while he swung the dreaded chain whip,
But they saw their well-loved mountain full in view,
And they charged beneath the whip with a sharp and sudden dash,
And off into the mountain scrub they flew.

Then fast the riders followed, where the gorges deep and black
Resounded to the thunder of their tyres,
And the chainwhips woke the echoes, and they fiercely answered back
From cliffs and crags that beetled overhead.
And upward, ever upward, the wild steeds held their way,
Where mountain ash and kurrajong grew wide;
And the old man muttered fiercely, “We may bid the steeds good day,
No man can hold them down the other side.”

When they reached the mountain’s summit, even Drastic took a pull,
It well might make the boldest hold their breath,
The wild hop scrub grew thickly, and the hidden ground was full
Of pot holes, and any slip was death.
But the woman from Snowy River let her little steed have his head,
And she swung her multi-coloured socks around and gave a cheer,
And she raced it down the mountain like a torrent down its bed,
While the others stood and watched in very fear.

She sent the flint stones flying, but her steed kept its traction,
She cleared the fallen timber and tree roots in her stride,
And the woman from Snowy River never shifted in her saddle –
It was grand to see that mountain cyclist ride.
Through the stringybarks and saplings, on the rough and broken ground,
Down the hillside at a racing pace she went;
And she never drew the brakes till she landed safe and sound,
At the bottom of that terrible descent.

She was right among the wild steeds as they climbed the further hill,
And the watchers on the mountain standing mute,
Saw her ply the chain whip fiercely, she was right among them still,
As she raced across the clearing in pursuit.
Then they lost her for a moment, where two mountain gullies met
In the ranges, but a final glimpse reveals
On a dim and distant hillside the wild steeds racing yet,
With the woman from Snowy River at their heels.

And she ran them single-handed till their frames were white with lactic acid.
She followed like a bloodhound on their track,
Till they halted cowed and beaten, then she turned their heads for home,
And alone and unassisted brought them back.
But her hardy mountain bike could scarcely rotate the crank,
It was blood from headset to bottom bracket from the cleat;
But its pluck was still undaunted, and its courage fiery hot,
For never yet was mountain bike a cur.

And down by Kosciusko, where the pine-clad ridges raise
Their torn and rugged battlements on high,
Where the air is clear as crystal, and the white stars fairly blaze
At midnight in the cold and frosty sky,
And where around The Overflow the reed beds sweep and sway
To the breezes, and the rolling plains are wide,
The woman from Snowy River is a household word today,
And the Easy RIders tell the story of her ride.
“The Man from Snowy River” originally published in –
The Bulletin, 26 April 1890.

B1’s 2013 Sydney to the Gong Ride Report

This years ride was going to be pretty special, not for me so much as the two younger riders I would be taking with me.

It would be Grant’s first attempt and Keith’s second, although his first solo attempt. I rode with Keith last year on a Tandem.

Plan A was that we would catch a train to Sydney Park, St Peters and ride from there. But as the big day approached it became apparent both boys could ride from our home in Wahroonga (Plan B). So final details were put in place. We rose at 3:45 (1/2 and hour before we went to bed) and left home at 4:20.

There was a rendezvous at the top of our street with several of the Easy Riders we would spend the day with. From there, a quick descent to Gordon where some 50 or 60 Easy Riders would assemble for the run into the City and on to St Peters.

Knowing Keith would be a bit slower on the way into town, I elected to leave a bit ahead of time. Ravi accompanied us to Observatory Hill where we had enough time for a quick bite and a wee before a throng of Easy Riders swept us up and through the City. We made it uneventfully to Sydney Park.

There was a slight pause while we looked for a baby to kiss (why do we have to do that?) and we were off. About 5:50 am. The ride officially starts at 6:00, but if you get off a bit earlier, there is far less bike traffic and that makes it safer, an important consideration for me managing Keith and Grant. It was clear on the ride down the Pacific Hwy that Grant just wanted to Go. I constantly told him to ease up and ride a “Keith” pace. He was not impressed. At St Peters, I told Grant to find a good Egg and Tomato Jersey (Easy Rider) to follow and ring me if he stopped for anything. That was the last I saw of him. Pshooom!

He did ring at 8:35 to say he had finished and where was I? So, he’d ridden most of the 83 km with Dragon in 2hrs 45 min. An average of 31.2 kph. Thanks for looking after him Dragon! He said it was a bit slow at times, but generally a good pace. Grant, Magoo says that if you find the pace a bit slow to get out and lead for a while. The others will just follow.

Keith and I on the other had a more leisurely roll down. We lost sight of most Easy Riders along Botany Bay. Keith chased for a few km, but realised the pace was too high. There was a period where we saw no bikes until the official Police motorcade passed us, accompanied by a fast group of Sylvania BMW riders. Keith, who had reverted to dawdling hit the gas and joined in. It was nearly 5 km before we fell off the back of that train, averaging over 35 kph. One rider passing exclaimed, “Gosh, its only a kid.”.

We settled into a good rhythm chasing some riders and allowing faster ones to get away. Stopping South of Waterfall, we met Blue and Pink Stratos (The Strati), Shorty, and Jenna’s Sister. We demolished some tasty muffins and fed Keith his first Gu, go food for cyclists.

The Strati got away two minutes in front of us. Keith chased, standing and attacking for over 10 minutes. We passed everything in sight and finally the Strati. They eventually passed us again. We passed this guy who looked like, I dunno, a praying mantis spinning a web. I got to chat with him for a bit. He’s a 7 footer. His seat post was at my eye level. Legs looked like extensions you would take off before going to bed.

More undulations ensued and we made it to Waterfall and the descent into the Royal National Park. Here we had another break and more food. Keith’s cramps were becoming serious now, so a massage was given. I had been more nervous about the Waterfall descent that any other part of the ride. Cycle traffic can be thick and hazardous depending on the experience level of the riders around you at the time. This year, the Police Motor Cyclists were riding interspersed with the cyclists, rather than leading large groups. This lead to a more uniform outcome and no speedsters cutting around people.

With the descent out of the way came the climb. Keith ordered another Gu. No sooner had he eaten the Gu, he was up and attacking the hill and everyone on it. I provided guidance from behind, calling “wait up” on the blind corners and “go” on the straights. I don’t know if more than 6 people passed us on the way up. We passed 100s. Just as Keith was flagging and sitting for a break, the top came into sight, so he was off and attacking again. 200m sprint to the top. We made it phew!

At Stanwell Tops we did another water and food stop and took in the view. More massages for cramps. The second big descent was also uneventful. Sea Cliff Bridge is always a great treat. Torn between marveling at Engineering on the one hand and the views up the cliffs and out to sea on the other. We got into a rhythm climbing undulations and zooming down the other side when Keith noticed he had a flat. That provided a welcome 10 min break about a half hour before the finish.

Keith had just about had enough when we heard it was just 3 km to the finish. Can you make it that far, I asked? Oh, maybe says Keith. In the end we made it easily. At the Finish there were drinks and people clapping. We made our way to the Westpac Tent to enjoy an Egg and Bacon Roll, Cokes, cakes, Fruit,.. It was just marvelous. Thank-you Westpac.

We also found Grant who had been waiting for us for over an hour. Most of the Easy Riders had turned around and started the ride back to the Green Gate in Killara, for lunch, of course. We Perry’s caught the Train back and made it into the Green Gate in time to join in some of the festivities and take on some yeasty restoratives. The boys had squash.


Holiday Bike Stories

I’ve just returned from two weeks travelling around with the kids. We did a flying visit to the Gammon Ranges (North Flinders) and then the Oodnadatta Track. ’bout 5000 Ks.  No cycling involved myself, but we did see some cyclists out there. There were couple doing the Mawson Trail that goes up through the Flinders.  My brother did that as a five day race last year.  Would be an interesting ride.
Further along, on the Oodnadatta Track we encountered a Cycling Safari doing the Track. There were 20 in the group accompanied by a bus.  The bus had a 20 stacker bike rack on the roof. With bikes on the roof, the bus looked like a giant toast rack.  (Bikes mounted transverse.  No photo, sorry.)  Anyway the folks on this safari would set off about 7am and the bus would chase at 9am, picking up stragglers as it went.  On the leg from Coward Springs to William Ck, we passed them all except for one dude who was waiting in William Ck when we arrived at 10:30 – beat the others by an hour over a distance of 90k.  Said he was averaging 32 kph. See the first attachment.  The road surface is good and flat.  No hills.  But the scenery???  Salt bush, spinifex and red gibber that goes on and on…
The safari guys were supported.  The next lot were not.  This pair was getting along with T-bars and a Tag-a-long trailer arrangement.  The trailer had the tent, sleeping mats and a cute folding chair.  Given they would have to be going through at least 5 litres of water a day just to ride and road houses with water supplied are 200 Km apart, I do not know how they kept themselves watered.
Food for thought for those keen on long distance endurance rides.

Phantom Photographer on the Fluffer

A short while ago, Mrs B2 found a post on a friends FaceBook page with a photo of “us”.  Mrs B2, who was hitherto unaware on my ride on the Fluffer this morn, rings to ask “What were you doing on MVR at 5:30 this morning?”.  (This goes a long way to explain the phantom photographer hiding in the bushes outside Flower Power this morning.)
Mrs B2’s friend wants to claim Private Eye fees!



3 Peaks – B1’s Version

We stood on the starting grid for long enough, it was 15 minutes before we rolled out. My decision not to wear arm warmers, gloves or any other warm wear was a good one. I was sweating before the bottom of the mountain was reached and that was without pedaling. At the pre-ride briefing, the only useful piece of information provided in ½ an hour of chat was that 2013 would be the hottest 3 Peaks ride on record. They were right about that.

The traffic down the mountain was pretty thick. People seemed to hang around the centre line of the road and not pass. The road was closed so, I used the RHS even though we had been told that was a nono.

Overall, I found that the Threadbo Training Camp had taught me a number of skills I would use on the ride. Descending was one of them. The Falls descent was sedate compared to Dead Horse. This allowed me to watch traffic instead of being too preoccupied with my actions. The descent from Falls is a good, long, fun run.

We strolled out to the Tawonga Gap turn and started the climb. My strategy here was to take it easy on this little hill. In training, I had decided to climb at about 750m/hr using the Garmin. So I did that and chatted to a few folk along the way. No one said much in return – just blew back at me. I figured they were trying too hard on the first hill and kept my thoughts to myself. I met Dopey and we chatted for a bit. Easy Riders do like to talk.

Arrived at the top of Tawonga not feeling any the worse for wear and filled both bidons as recommended. This would be the last refill before the top of Buffalo. The view was huge.
The descent of Tawonga was good and fast with far less traffic than on Falls. I think I did my highest speeds here. A very unfortunate discovery was a pair of legs poking out of a ditch on the left with assorted bike bits down the road thereafter. Police already in attendance.

As the grade became more gentle it became necessary to peddle once again. I heard the distinctive click of a wheel sucker changing gears and just ignored them for a while. After a few minutes they came past and said “We need to make a Train” to which I readily agreed. So I sucked his wheel for a bit. We picked up Dopey who was absolutely caning it behind another rider. (Actually, I think they picked us up.) They went past and we chased. And then there were four of us, or more. Before long we overran another train and there were 20. Its a bit nervy riding along with 20 other riders of unknown abilities at 40 kph. Anyway, Dopey and I took a few turns at the front.

The Train sort of disintegrated a bit as we went through Bright. Must have been that round about that got in the way. The streets were lined with lots of small groups cheering us on. Some were blowing whistles and hooters, none in bikinis though. I lost Dopey somewhere and joined another poorly organised train (Clutters where were you?).

All the while, I was with this first bloke who I had thought was a wheel sucker. Later in the ride, back at Mt Beauty, no less, we would introduce ourselves. His name was Brett.

The Mt Buffalo climb started a short while after I noticed some sheer cliff faces in the distance rising several hundreds of meters. I thought “That looks nice” and expunged any thought process that might draw an inference between the cliffs and where I was headed next.

The climb up Buffalo was not that bad. It’s a bit like doing a whole lot of Bobbin Heads (steep side) with no let up. My strategy here was much the same as Tawonga. Just take it easy. I was just taking it easy when this guy I passed says, “You’re an Easy Rider!”. It was John Cooper’s brother from Brisbane. He recognised me from the coffee we had the the B&T in the rain several months ago.

The climb went on. Every ½ hour I would stop for a muesli bar or a goo. I’d drink some water, usually too much and get going again. It would seem silly watching all these people pass me while I chewed. Odd thing was I would always pass them within 5 mins. Towards the end I was passing far more people than the ones that passed me.

I met up with Brett twice more and Craig also. Thought I saw B2 at one point but must have been his halo.

I don’t know If I got over excited toward the end of this climb, but I found I could manage a steady climb rate of 810m/hr. At one point I was averaging 950 and had to work hard to pull it back to 800 odd.

Stealth and SatNav descended past me near the top. There were calls of “Not far now”.

The top of Buffalo was reached with a bit of a whimper. There was no real view and there was a long queue for the water. I skipped the water. There were some Easy Riders there. I was in a blear and don’t recall who.

The descent of Buffalo was pretty good, except for the first bit and the last half. The first bit was covered in fine gravel which made cornering diabolical. After completing the first half I had had enough, I was over heating and that was without pedaling. I recall thinking I should be near the bottom, looking out over the valley and seeing there was still 500 vertical meter to go. Maybe I’ve been spoilt but my idea of descending is that it should be cool and refreshing. Instead, the last half of Buffalo was like putting your face in a fan forced oven with the fan on hard.

Moseyed over to the lunch spot and collected my valet pack. I didn’t change cloths. I just loaded up the extra food I had included in the pack. Gave the bike chain a lube. I also gave
me another lube with more of that chamois butter. That stuff works well. My backside is sore, but not ripped.

I saw Simba but none of the others at lunch. It was too hot to contemplate sitting still, so I pushed on after a 15 min break.

Back on the road again, I recalled Drastique’s comments that a good wheel should be found at this point. I pulled in behind 3 guys doing a nice 35 kph. After five mins I moved up and pushed for a bit and then the previous leader moved back to the front again. The other two were just hangin on. Myself and this other guy changed positions 3 or 4 times when we were overtaken by a train of about 30. I stuck with that for a while and got to Ovens very quickly.

Their train rotated a bit differently to what I have done in the past. There are two columns. The right hand column moves a couple of kph faster than the left hand one. As each rider on the right gains the front (they push) and move over to the head of the left hand column. After about 10 seconds, the next rider moves in front of them. Once migrated all the way to the back of the left column, a rider moves back over to the bottom of the right column. And so the process continues.

Perhaps I wasn’t paying attention, or, concentrating too hard on not tripping on anyone’s wheel in the train. It was flat, straight and fast and there was HEAT. And, the heat was HOT. By the time I got to Ovens the heat had done some damage. There was a tiny little rise I found I could not climb. The train disintegrated. I topped a little rise, disgusted that I could only muster a climb rate of 500 m/hr and set about pushing off across the flat. The best I could do was a pitiful 12 kph. I realised something was wrong. Went through a checklist. Eating, drinking, perspiring, bike functioning, correct gearing. Ah, the temperature gauge: 38.5 degrees. Far out it was hot. Looking around there was no respite. 10s of ks of flat, or rolling farmland with no trees or hills.

Realising that my lack of power output was due to a heat induced metabolic breakdown, I figured I would have to cool off and the only way to do that would be to slow right down. So I dawdled.

Some respite came in the way of a small range that had to be crossed. Yes it was uphill, but hey! there were rocks and trees and shade and things.

(Insert Horse with no-name tune) I’ve been through the desert on a bike with no-name, it felt good to be out of the sun. Lah Lah La La La La La.

Bugger, it ended. I was down the other side onto the flat, hot valley bottom again. This section of the ride would have been great in an alpine setting. But at 350m elevation, it was a frying pan.

I passed the mobile bike mechanic and asked if they had a remedy for an overheating engine. They laughed and said they were right out of water.

I picked up more water at Running Creek. Also saw John Cooper’s brother again. There were lots of people lazing around on the grass under the trees. Lots rolling in. Not too many rolling out. I rolled out.

Next stop Mt Beauty 30km away and 60 km to the end. 60km – easy, I’ve done that before.

My strategy was to just put up with the heat on the valley floor, taking it as easy as possible. Climb rates of 500m/hr were the new pinnacle of success, the norm being more like 400. Pathetic compared to the 810 I was getting on Buffalo. I assumed the climb up Falls would improve the temperature situation. Ambient temperature usually decreases with increase in height. Looking forward to the cool mountain air kept me going.

I formed a few loose alliances with people on the way into My Beauty. Most people were too stuffed to care about trains. The heat killed everyone.

A highlight of the trip occurred coming into Mt Beauty; The Garmin clicked over 200 km (my previous longest trip was 200); the alarm went off to say it was time to eat something (again); and a lovely young lady on the side of the road squirted me with the most refreshing bath of iced water. She actually had a sign asking you to wave if you wanted a squirt. I waved like mad.

I rolled in and out of Mt Beauty without much delay. Picked up water and met Brett again.

The climb of Falls did not go to plan. The climb towards Bogong Village did improve the temperature situation as I had hoped. It was 36 degree instead of 38. Wow! There were a few cool breezes coming down the gullies, and I managed to get a climb rate of 810m/kr going again. I was thrilled. But then. Well. The road sort of faces due West and the tree cover over the road from the West is sort of non-existent. So it was back into the baking sun. The temperature in my head soared and the climb rate went back to a pitiful 410 m/hr.

The roadside was littered with sweaty bodies sipping water. The clever ones were in the shade. One lucky chum managed to get a flat right in a shady spot. Lucky him!
Since the mountain was not cooling off like I had hoped, I was wondering how I would keep climbing in the heat. I passed Craig luxuriating in the grass in a shady spot. Sorry, I jest,
Craig was dealing with serious cramps and talking about walking the rest of the way. I was a bit worried that if I did anything but keep going I might not start again. So I just kept on. Fortunately, Craig finished with just seconds to spare.

About 15 mins before the Finish line, a big black cloud blocked out the sun and the temperature did drop and I noticed it. Hooray!

Shortly, I was in Falls Ck Village and was waved over the line by Stealth and SatNav.

My finish time was about 11.5 hours. I reckon I could do it in under 11 without the heat.

Will I go back for more next year? Stay tuned…