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.


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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.

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