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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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