Taking in the scenery of the Blue Mountains and country NSW, this ride is picturesque, and brutal! Literally up hill the whole way. A total distance of 261km, with climbing elevation of 3226m. It takes ~4 hours to drive, and on our second attempt, 10:02:53 hours to ride.
This all came about back in October 2014 when I had first met Hamish and he suggested we ride to Orange to meet his parents. Normal, right?! Our first attempt at this ride was unsuccessful. Despite being super fit (I was about to depart for Kona), 6 flat tyres between Penrith and Katoomba slowed us down and we only made it to Bathurst (207km) before we ran out of daylight.
Now 14 months later, engaged, and slightly less fit, we thought it opportune to try again, and we made it!! It was touch and go for a while there, especially when the temperature dipped to 6 degrees in the fog and rain going through the mountains and we couldn’t move our hands to change gears! Or when we hit the country roads and thought our teeth would fall out from all the bumps!
A few of the things we did differently this time around that contributed to the success:
– Freshly serviced rigs (thank you Bikebug North Sydney team) and the installation of gatorskin tyres, plus checking them for glass the night before. There was no way mechanical problems were slowing us down this time!
– Lightened our load. We did this ride unsupported, so sent the car home 2 days earlier with our overnight essentials, meaning we didn’t have to carry a back pack. Motto of the story – always be prepared!
– Left earlier (at 3.30am) and got 100kms into our legs before our first stop. This was to trick our brains that we hadn’t really gone that far! This also ensured when we were 60kms from home and dead, we could just take it 10km at a time because we had all afternoon to finish.
– The worst part of this ride is the last 60km from Bathurst to Orange and the section we failed at last time. Anything over 200km will always be slow going because your legs are already dead. But this section has the WORST roads, trucks zooming past and is ALL uphill. The thing that got us through – nutrition! As soon as you start to feel bad – eat! We carried peanut butter sandwiches, gels and clif bars and at our 2 rest stops relied on the good old black doctor.
This story is a special one to me in my relationship, and a massive confidence booster for my comeback. Waking up this morning, I’m stiff but without distinct soreness. This goes to show my sworn recovery techniques of beer and a radox bath work. And the importance of a quality bike fit (thank you Tom at Pave the Way Bike Fitting).
Actually thank you to all my sponsors for their continued support, it’s great to finish the year on a big high.
Bikebug – ensuring I always have the best equipment. I’m a lucky girl.
Rudy Project – for keeping my head safe and my eyes protected out there.
Pearl Izumi Run – comfy shoes because you know the next 3 days will be spent running!!