A small band of dedicated (read stupid) riders turned up for this weeks ride. Having not ridden for the previous two weeks, this seemed like the perfect ride for me to get back in the saddle. Oh dear.
I think the ride is best summed up by the initial shake of the head as each cyclist turned up to Hassell's as the rain began to set in. However, some extensive work on the meteorology website from the course director, backed up myself, suggested the rain would not last, so off we went.
The climb up Belair Road was a good tough start, with the group not waiting long at the top (well not from when I finished anyway) before heading of towards Clarendon. The ride from Clarendon to Meadows was without a doubt, my least favourite portion of riding this year. It was a long hard slog, never really climbing. However, with a head wind for the majority and no downhill relief it was genuinely tough.
The meadows bakery won some points back with good old country flavour and service, and certainly scored a few extra points for the eye candy! After the break we headed on towards Echunga then Mylor, safe in the knowledge that a tailwind would carry us home. We then turned off on to Aldgate Valley Road. If the road from Clarendon to Meadows is one of the worst sections of road I have ridden on, then Aldgate Valley would be one of the best.
We took it pretty easy (did I mention I was stuffed) and the scenery was nothing short of fantastic. At the end of this section we were met with a choice from the course director, short and tough or longer and a little bit easier. We chose short and tough, straight up Ayers Hill Road. Now if you met this road at the start of your ride, you'd probably cruise up it. Sadly it was our last climb for the day, and even sadder I walked the last 50m.
Needless to say the rain kicked back in for the ride down the freeway, just to ensure every last sap of energy was drained from my body.
Well done to everyone who made it out. I'd comment on king of the mountain. However, I was never close enough to notice. That said honorable mentions to Karpy, (his new frame must be making all the difference) Geoff and in particular Aldo who continued to provide nowhere near enough rest for those of us slightly in front.
Cheers - Andrew