We made it!
After we left the main group at the top of Fox Creek Rd we made good time to Woodside and straight on toward Inverbrackie which appears flat but is gently uphill. The last 5 km into Nairne was very quick with Steve Walker (Duracell Lithium) powering at the front at over 40kph.
We stopped at Mt Barker for coffee and buns for about 10mins then headed out of town up Wellington Road to Wistow. It is about 18km from Wistow to Strathalbyn and it is a great section of road - very fast and you do not really notice the long uphill sections because you hit them at good speed.
In our enthusiasm Steve and I got a bit ahead of Mike and Chris so we re-grouped at Strath for the remaining very flat 60km section to Goolwa via Langhorne Creek and Milang. The run to Langhorne Creek was steady at 30kph + then we turned south toward Lake Alexandrina where the wind picked up a bit. Just before we got to the Lake the Course Director embarrassingly 'hit the wall' and dropped off (he will be re-appraising his preparation and ride strategy for the TDU!!). Thankfully the others slowed down and Steve 'carried' him to Milang for a brief stop.
The next 20 km was backed by a gentle tail wind which we did not really take advantage of because the Course Director was still suffering - pace was only high 20's. After Finniss, Mike and Chris went ahead and Steve supported the ailing and slowing Course Director through Currency Creek (where Chris met his wife and loaded his bike on the car because he had to get to Cape Jarvis for the ferry). The final run into Goolwa probably had the strongest head wind and Mike stayed in front battling alone and finished a minute or two ahead of the relieved Course Director and fresh Steve.
Overall the weather and wind conditions were near perfect with a slight SE breeze - hardly noticeable until we got close to Lake Alexandrina
Average speed 27.8kph (should have been over 30 if we 'all' went at full speed) and ride time of about 5.45 from Norwood - elapsed time of just under 7 hours arriving at Goolwa at about 2.40pm. Three pints in the Goolwa pub were welcome.
Lessons from the ride -
- The first part is definitely the hardest (as expected) but the long flat riding is still a challenge
- Some of the roads are a bit rough - particularly near Nairne and between Langhorne Creek and Milang
- Very quick from Wistow to Strathalbyn - but save some energy
- The wind will play a significant factor on the day so try and get into a large group from Strathalbyn to the finish (we were lucky with perfect wind conditions)
- Make sure that you prepare well and have a lot of food and water - particularly early in the ride
I think we all got benefit from the ride in various ways and it should contribute to a much improved performance on the TDU day.
The Assistant Course Director (demoted for poor performance!)