By David Martin
BayBUG had a small but keen team in this year’s 104km leg of the 2016 Bobbin Head Classic. We joined over 2,300 other riders.
It was a joy to be riding with so many others and passing through such stunning bushland in Ku-Ring-gai Chase National Park.
This community ride is known for its challenging hill climbs and exhilarating descents. Over 500 volunteers make it all possible. The route was replete with marshals and directional signs, meaning no chance of losing our way. And there was an endless supply of bananas, energy bars, water and gatorade at the rest stops along the way, enthusiastically offered by the vollies from many local community organisations.
Was it hard? For me the hardest part was getting to Turramurra for the 6:30am start! Like many, I had slept with one eye on the clock and arrived bleary-eyed.
Knowing there’d be hills ahead, I struck a measured pace from the start. I reminded myself to pedal with my heels down and the need to concentrate on the road ahead and avoid the wheels in front. We had some wet roads and steep descents, a dicey combination needing judicious use of the brakes before bends, sometimes back brake only and then with just a light touch. Luck was on our side and we avoided the showers of rain coming up from the south, seeing just a few drops of rain on the return out of West Head.
There was a high standard of group riding skills generally, making the Bobbo riders a pleasure to ride amongst. I had no near misses or ‘heart in mouth’ moments, unlike some other mass rides on Sydney’s annual cycling calendar.
There were challenging sections of the route. The toughest section for me was the road out to West Head and back. It’s a glorious look-out when you get there, perched above Brisbane Water and Pittwater, but hard earned!
The dreaded climb out of Akuna Bay to Terrey Hills comes in the last 25km of the 104km ride. The first 1.5km is the steepest, with hairpin bends, but it then (mostly) eases off to a steady grind.
Ross, John and I kept a steady pace through to the end, toiling up the hills and attacking the downhills. It really helps to ride with others, sharing the hard work and taking turns breaking the wind and giving a little shelter to those behind.
Our little BayBUG group of three finished just before noon, after 4.5 hours of riding, some time after George. I had very little left in the tank and my legs were ‘cooked’. Ross, John, George and I were ready for some caffeine and calories and sat down to a late breakfast. Like many others, I headed home for a little nap and later relished a restorative dinner and a couple of beers.
Along the way I read on someone’s jersey ‘Miles are my meditation’. That sums up the ride for me.