Category Archives: Randonneuring

2017 Cadel Evans People’s Ride

Dear Rouleurs,

Life as daddy day care has continued at pace.  So much so that MMT has realised that he’s only got about 4 weeks left before he returns to work… the horror….Nooooo!!!!.  MMT had a long ‘do to’ list that hasn’t quite worked.  One of those items, that has been sadly neglected, has been this blog. Whilst MMT has been on the bike, training with his new club Rapha Cycling Melbourne and doing longer versions of the events he did last year, not much blogging has been occurring.  Another new development for MMT was signing up for Strava for the first time this year. At some point in the not too distant future, MMT will write about what it’s like to be a new member of RCC and his impression’s of Strava.

The subject of this blog is one of those recently completed events, the 2017 Cadel Evan’s Peoples Ride. Team MMT stayed in Geelong three nights to soak up the atmosphere of, what event organisers are hoping will be become, a modern one day classic. Team MMT really enjoyed the ‘buzz’ around Geelong for the race.  The event village, finish/start line and sponsor’s pavilions were ideally located on the foreshore.  Good weather for the People’s Ride, Men’s and Women’s races seemed to draw the crowds out around the course.

MMT’s first attempt of the  111 Km version of the People’s ride was pretty tough experience. A quick look of the course profile can provide some insight into why this so.  The first 50Km or so is easy and very scenic, particularly the segment between Barwon Waters and Torquay.  However the fun starts on the hills just outside of Bells Beach where a vicious ‘W’ shape contains the KOM climb. Looking at Strava, these hills range between 4.5 and 6% on average.  Honestly, they felt much tougher than that and I had to walk some of last two.  Happily MMT made it over the top of the KOM by myself.  After that it’s quite manageable up to the final Aid Station Moriac at kilometre 82.  After that it begins to become quite nasty. There are 6 steep climbs in the backend of the course that I found difficult.

This is not a pretty picture !!

By far the nastiest of these is the very last section, Queens Park Road to Melville St, which if Strava is to be believed, ranges from 5% to a whopping 19%.  That’s a proper Belgian Col and I only saw one guy make it up over the top.  How the pros ride over this hill three times, fast, is a mystery to me. The other sections range in the 5 to 7%, with the hills around Ceres (up to 7%) and Scenic Road (up to 11%) being the toughest. I think I had to walk on least four of them.  I was really underdone coming into this event. Next time I’ll need to add some hills to my training and not get pneumonia.

Opps!! 114km or 111km, printer error.

On the course itself, I have to say that I though the positioning of the aid stations was really off.  The Aid Station in Torquay, should have been after the first climbs, not before it.  The first aid station, intended for the shorter course, I assume, was at kilometre 29 in Barwon Heads.  The Torquay station was less than 20 kms further down the road, on the flat part of the course.  In hindsight I would have stopped there and not Barwon Heads.  Moriac station was about 35km further on.  The finish line was another 29Km after that.

IMHO, the Torquay station should have been a few kilometres after the KOM at kilometre 62.  Similarly the Moriac Station should have been around kilometre 92.  The printed collateral which I’ve re-produced here, also had some errors.  First the long version course was 111km not 114km.  Not sure why there was a screw up measuring the distance.  Also the distance between the stations was completely wrong.  Not sure who has been doing their proof reading.

So here’s my Strava log for the event.  Have to say that a Suffer Score of 136 is not something MMT would hope to repeat anytime soon.

So onto a few photos, some taken by MMT, others by course photographers.  Happily, none of these guys took a photo of me walking up a hill 🙂

On the starting line.

Crap selfie of moi. I’m showing nerves

On the road, near Torquay.

In the hills of the last 25km.

Moriac rest stop. Nice bikes 🙂

Nearly there, a few km from the finish in Geelong

So the big question is will Team MMT try this tough course again next year??

Until next time, ride safe

Marv

Marv’s January Bike Log

Dear Rouleurs,

Well here’s my first bike log for 2017.  As per my last log, my holiday cycling plans didn’t go as planned,resulting no riding between 18 December 2016 to 6 January 2017…bugger.  Notwithstanding, I still managed 650 Km for the month.  My log and stats can be found here. This puts me over 100 km ahead of my monthly goal – 542km.

New pretty monthly graph for January.

The big numbers are longer training rides and the Cadel Evans People’s Ride, which you have read MMT’s report on here.  As MMT has signed up for Strava this year, he can produce a matching suffer score graph for the above graph.  It looks a bit like this.

January’s suffer score graph care of MMT’s Strava account. The 136 was the Cadel Evans People’s Ride, which was long and hilly.

For MMT, the Suffer Score roughly aligns with the distance of the ride but increases when MMT starts climbing or falls when I’m dawdling along.  I’m looking forward to fiddling more with these stats over the forthcoming months.

Until next blog, ride safe.

Marv

Round the Bay 2016 – 100km Frankston Return

Dear Rouleurs,

Last Sunday,Team MMT completed the 100km version of Melbourne’s annual love letter to cycling, Round the Bay.  What a day…more like WTF?!!  The weather was atrocious.  The weatherman’s forecasts for extreme winds was unfortunately correct.  MMT has long extolled the virtues of the Bureau of Meteorology’s wind forecast map http://www.bom.gov.au/marine/wind.shtml.  The night before the ride this is what the BOM forecast, for 5am to 11am.

20161009-Wind-Forecast

In fact it is was much worse with wind gusts of up to 100km/h.  I saw a young lady flip her road bike over the curb and land on the grass at Katani Gardens in StKilda.  The wind blew sideways, her front wheel contacted the curb and the rest was history.  Fortunately, she received no injuries other than a really good fright.

At the Back of the queue.....

At the Back of the queue…..

Ta da.....here's my RBT kit at long last.

Ta da…..here’s my RBT kit at long last.

So just a quick recap MMT entered the 2016 Round the Bay (RTB) in August after having one of those days at work.  Unfortunately, the job that pays for this blog and just about everything else that team MMT needs, has more frequently occurring moments of lunacy.  Cycling is an excellent antidote.  MMT did have some issues with the registration process for RTB.  The Jersey arrived as XXS as opposed to the XXL ordered and the entry kit never arrived.  A couple of frustrating calls later, MMT was queuing on the Friday before the event to change his jersey and collect a replacement kit.  This took over an hour.  It’s hard to be angry with volunteers doing a tricky job on behalf of a charity.  MMT’s sense of frustration was short lived.

C'est Moi..at the Starting Line

C’est Moi..at the Starting Line

The 2016 RBT Starting Line

The 2016 RBT Starting Line

You're riding a tricycle, how far??

You’re riding a tricycle, how far??

I'm not even sure what kind of bike this is..

I’m not even sure what kind of bike this is…

Unlike registration, everything else the event organisers arranged was excellent, the start was well managed as thousands of entrants slowly made their way out of Alexandria Gardens towards Beach Road.   Volunteers were cheerful and numerous.  Even as the wind approached gale force, many were still at the finish line cheering cyclists as they came through.

Ammenities at Mordialloc rest stop

Ammenities at Mordialloc rest stop

Bike parking at Mordialloc

Bike parking at Mordialloc

The rest stops at Mordialloc and Frankston were very well organised with a good mixture of sweet and savoury treats available.  Interestingly, no refreshment other than water was available.  Whilst both rest stops were located next to cafes but the queues for coffee put me off.  I skipped he Mordialloc rest stop on the return leg in the, proven to be false, hope that I would beat the arriving gale force winds.

WRT to the ride itself, without wind its an enjoyable, bar a couple hills, flat ride.  At various points such as St Kilda, Brighton, Sandringham, Blackrock,Parkdale and Mordialloc,its very scenic.  Coming in and out of Frankston was a little boring and in parts the road surface was fairly rough.  I tailed a bunch from Lend Lease as far as Sandringham.  Their kit was reminiscent of Team Sky, but happily their speed was not.  My personal highlight was the pair of girls riding unicycles dressed in read white.  I’m not sure how they made it the finishing line given the wind.  I was surprised by the number of mountain bike and commuter/flat handle bar bike riders amongst the participants.

RTB amenities at Frankston

RTB amenities at Frankston

My trusty Wlier leaning up against a wall in Frankston

My Wilier leaning up against a wall

Frankston Beach from the Visitor Centre

Frankston Beach from the Visitor Centre

Another shot of the Frankston Village

Another shot of the Frankston Village

The finishing line and village were a welcome sight nearly 5 hours later.  The village had numerous tasty food options.  Alas the end of ride lunch provided by the organisers was excellent, so I didn’t try any of their wares.  There were many bike vendors with bikes, cycling kit accessories for sale.  I bought a discounted pair of Roeckl gloves to replace the much older and worn pair I have.

The RTB Village in Alexandria Gardens

The RTB Village in Alexandria Gardens

Bike Parking in the RTB Village

Bike Parking in the RTB Village

These guys made a pretty decent latte

These guys made a pretty decent latte

Another shot of the Village

Another shot of the Village

So onto the stats, like most semi-serious cyclists keeping track of kilometres, cadence, speed and calories burned becomes an obsession.  So here’s my Garmin record.  Much to my surprise I now rank just inside the top 200 for one of the segments.  Overall, about 95Km in less than 5 hours was a reasonable effort, given that I had never attempted that distance before.

201009-garmin-rtb

On reflection, I should have skipped the Mordialloc rest stop on the way down and kept my stop at Frankston to 15 mins.  That would’ve kept the round trip closer to 4 hours.  Also given the slow rolling start, I think next time, I’ll elbow my way to the front.  All things considered, I’ll do this ride again next year.

Until next time, ride safe

Marv

Ballarat Autumn Day Ride 2016

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Dear Rouleurs,

As regular (…but non-existent…sigh)  readers would have noticed, this year MMT has been doing charity event rides.  As a cyclist I guess you go through this evolution of riding by yourself or with your mates and commuting which means you tend to stick to well worn routes.  For me this consists of roads eastern bayside suburbs.  Doing 50-60 km charity events is an awesome way of breaking out of routine.

This brings me to my latest adventure, the Ballarat Autumn Day (BAD) ride.  As a first time entrant in the BAD, I was surprised to learn that this was the 27th edition of this organised ride.  Judging by the entrants I saw, most were fairly serious cyclists.  At some of the previous events there’s been a real mix of  casual, enthusiasts and athletes.  Compared to the Ballarat Classic that I did back in February, its pretty low key and operates with the support of the local Ballarat Bushwalking and Outdoor Club.

I elected to the 50 km version which on paper fairly easy, see pretty pictures below. There was supposed to be only one relatively easy climb on the way back into Ballarat.  Morning Tea Rest was supposed to be somewhere on the way back.

BAD 50 km ride course profile

BAD 50 km ride course profile

Let me say from the outset, this was really tough ride.  In the week leading up to ride I was nervously looking at the weather forecast thinking..’F#*K that looks bad’…pun intended.  Team MMT arrived in Ballarat on the Saturday afternoon before the ride and noticed that the wind was already quite strong.  Unfortunately the BOM’s predictions of thunder storms and high winds proved correct.  I was seriously considering pulling out.

BAD 2016 - 50 km Course.

BAD 2016 – 50 km Course.

Sunday morning, it was still very windy but at least the rain had stopped.  As I could see numerous cyclists making their way to the start line, I thought ‘What the hell!! How bad could it be?’.  Opps there’s that pun again.  The answer to that was actually it was pretty awful.  I tagged onto, what I thought at the time, was a moderately paced bunch, rolling along at about 23-25 km/h.  Most days, that’s in the ‘cruise’ zone for me.

What I hadn’t realised was how much I was being sheltered at the tail of the bunch.  As the ride turned into the country, the gently undulating course became exposed to very strong cross and head winds.  The hills took on a degree of difficulty that in no way was represented by their piddly gradient.  You can see this the gradient profile. By the 22 km mark, I was done.

I was dropped by the bunch on one of the steeper hills and left out in wind. In these conditions that was a really crappy place to be.  I pinched the photo below off the BAD Facebook page.  This was the bunch I wheelsucked before being dropped. If you look hard enough at the photo you can see the grimaces on the faces of the frontrunners.

MMT wheelsucking at the back of the bunch.

MMT wheelsucking at the back of the bunch.

Eventually I tagged onto another bunch but much to my chagrin, took a right when a left was intended.  This put me onto the 100 km course and up more hills.  At least I was side on to the wind. By 32 km I realised I had really stuffed up.  I found a course marshal who showed me were I was. I was almost 10 km off course. D’oh!!! This meant a course correction was needed (see pretty diagram below. I rode off the course and down the Sunraysia Highway. Fortunately I had the wind mostly behind me. Despite heavy showers I made reasonable time.

2016 BAD 60 km course as ridden by MMT.

2016 BAD 60 km course as ridden by MMT.

Closer to Ballarat I found another course marshall and evidently the broom wagon. Both were a bit surprised to learn of my detour. After completing a 28 km course correction, l finally roll across the start-finish line. All I can think is, that was much tougher than I thought would be. I call the other half of Team MMT this. She’s sitting in the warm reception room waiting for me. I check in and discover that I’m not the only who has had navigation problems. The wind has played havoc with the course markers.

Fortunately the race organisers have warm drinks and delicious fruit cake on. I need both. Team support has brought my wonderfully dry set of clothes. Soon I’m feeling warm and that sense of contentment you have when you’ve achieved something. Despite the inclement weather, I enjoyed the event and thought that it was well organised. I plan to the proper 50 km next year. Its a pity that this event isn’t more widely advertised in Melbourne, as it has quite lot to offer city cyclists seeking a break from car infested roads.

Until next time ride safe

Marv