Monday, October 16, 2006

ATB '06 - why?

Yesterday played host to the 2006 episode of 'Around The Bay In A Day' or as Ash likes to put it, 'Gay Day Play Day', and I couldn't agree more - 250km 'Legend' ride plus riding to the start and back can really fill a day. Work had paid my entry, so once again the anything free's worth having mentality saw me on my way for 300k. Let's just say I'm seriously reconsidering that mentality.

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Nice time for a ride, if it wasn't in the AM, on four hours sleep.

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Corner Warragul road and Monash freeway at 4am, who'd have thought there was ever a carless time.

My fist stop was Hayden's joint at 4am to collect him aswell as James (on the new bike) and Rob. We rolled from there, to the overpass bridge from Southern Cross/Spencer Street Station to Telstra Dome for a 5am meeting point with the rest of the Goldcross crew. They were late, so I must take some time to thank Telstra Dome for the conveniently placed exhaust fan, twas nice and warm, probably toxic but hey, I'm not dead yet. Also a special mention to the cafe that leaves their chairs out over night. Heat and a seat made the 20 minute wait as pleasant as possible, not to mention the view, pretty damn good for the big smoke.

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The Goldcross crew totalled 10 and we quickly had a decent bunch trailing us, especially with James aka Harry halfwheel pulling it along at about 40 clicks. Little did they know there wasn't much firepower in the rest of the Goldcross Train. After James, Rob and I were the quickest of the bunch and I don't know about him, but 300km is probably the sum total of my last month of riding. Preperation, meh, who needs it? I did!!

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The earlier stages, a good bunch, someone shoot the photographer though.

As I thought, the pace was too hot, it didn't even stay together to the Westgate. James, Rob, Hayden, one of the dude's from Hoppers, a loyal Hoppers customer and I rolled over and over for about 85km (105km stage for me), stopped at the Geelong rest station for the others and had the first of four 40 minute waits. It was somewhat eased by a nice chat with our favourite pair of Giant Bicycles Enduro MTB Girls Jo and Karen. We eventually rolled out of Geelong and were going along quite nicely, got through just before the highway was closed for the AmboChopper (RIP dude) only for James to flat 500m down the road.

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Who flatted?

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James flatted!

He threw a new tube in, I gased the sucker only to find the tyre shredded and the tube sticking through. A quick call and we had a new tyre on the way courtesty of one of the local boys' mums (is there anything they can't do). I came back from exploring the wasteland that is the side of a freeway to find them all standing around and ask, 'Has anyone ridden back to get the tyre off her? She won't be getting past that chopper anytime soon. Askign myself, 'Am I the only one with brain?' Anyway, I trundled back to get it myself, nearly got flattened by the chopper when it started up on the way back, I put the new tyre on, used another of those brilliant cartridges (mini pumps are for suckers) and we were going again. 40 minute wait number two done, and also my pictorial documentation of the ride, I was pretty much over riding already.

We soon splintered and it was down to the usual suspects. James, Hayden and Rob stopped, mumbling something as Hoppers boy, Hoppers customer and myself pedalled ourselves towards Portarlington, Ocean Grove, Queenscliff and most importantly...LUNCH!! 5km into that trip I was by myself, don't know where they went but I didn't care, food was calling me. I don't know if it was the four hours sleep the night before or the lack of real food (there's only so much GU and Powerbars can do) but the sleepmonsters were getting me and I was all over the road. I hit Queenscliff to receive my one measily sandwich and one apple that was about as big as a golf ball, they call that lunch, should I hit them or will you?

The next couple of hours went by with 40 minutes at Queenscliff waiting for the rest of the guys, however the hell long it was on the ferry (I was asleep leaning against the engine room, yes i was tired) and another 40 minutes waiting in Sorrento as they were on a later ferry. I did manage to polish off a burger with the lot and a hot chocolate from the local fish joint though so it wasn't all wasted. The rest of the crew hit Sorrento, we started riding, my legs had nothing but somehow I found myself riding solo with James 5 minutes down the road. The story went something like this until Frankston. I follow James' wheel, he drops me up any sort of rise, I come back to him on any sort of descent (hooray for bike handling sklls, thank you MTB). We got a call from the rest of the guys when we hit Frankston telling us to wait in Mordialloc for a few photos. I wasn't up for another 40 minutes wait so I called it a day and road home from Frankston. Cut the ride 50km short but 250 is still more than I've done in the last month. Can't say I'll be looking forward to ATBing next year but it's all good training...isn't it?

Exams in 8 days so if you don't hear anything from me for a while don't fret, I'm not dead.