Some rides are not about statistics, PB’s or Strava segment chasing. They’re about getting out and enjoying the freedom of two wheels. I’ve got a page on my Garmin that shows the time of day and direction. No distance, no speed, no average speed. Sure, it’s all still being recorded in the background, but it’s refreshing to simply ride for the love of riding.
Today’s ride was also a taste of the seasons to come. A full long bib tight, arm warmers, gilet and full fingered gloves kind of morning. It won’t be long until I need to dig out the thick winter gloves and shoe covers too. I set off early and straight into a sharp, chilling headwind. Glad I wore the warm kit! I’d planned to ride over and meet a couple of The Herd crew for their 8am ride.
Five of us met up at Red Square Cafe to tackle the “reverse loop” of Seven Mile beach and Richmond. It would have been six, but Gabe broke a couple of spokes on his warm-up! Feeling fresh, I sat on the front for the first 10km before rolling off to take some shelter, and shorter turns to rest my legs before the climb. I’d made a mental note of the course and weather, so knew the climb was going to be a little tricky today.
At 3.5km in length it’s more of a long grind rather than anything steep, averaging 4% and topping out at 10% max. Today it was going to be dead into a strong headwind, making it much more of a grind than normal. Settling into a steady rhythm over the initial shallow section I had two riders on my wheel, then just one one, then around half way up, none.
A moment later, the heavens opened! Not only was I battling uphill into a strong headwind on my own, now I was also being pelted with large, high speed raindrops blown straight into my face. What a way to feel alive though! Cresting the top I pulled my gilet on, swung back part-way down the climb and clocked a few more metres of elevation as the rest of the group finished up. I prefer doing this rather than waiting at the top getting cold, I find it’s best to keep moving!
After negotiating the steep and slippery descent into Richmond we made good use of the tailwind to speed down through the “wine route” back to the cafe. By time we unclipped for coffee, the sun had burned through to reveal a beautifully warm break in the weather. I enjoyed a double espresso and banana bread before saying my goodbyes to The Herd crew and heading for home.
I’d momentarily considered stripping off my arm warmers, but glad I didn’t as it wasn’t long until the heavens opened again and the temperature plummeted. It’s been quite a while since I’ve gotten this wet on a ride! Tasmania has spoiled me somewhat! Spirits were still high though and I was having too good a ride to stop yet. Unfortunately, technology had other ideas.
I looked down as saw a “WARNING 10% BATTERY” message on my Garmin. What? I mustn’t have charged it fully. I did some quick mental calculations and figured I’d better not tack on that extra loop after all. I really wanted to go 110+ today but more so did not want to risk a flat Garmin battery. A little deflated, I turned around and sped for home, rolling into the driveway with 2% charge left and a little over 107km. More than enough, but not quite enough.
Distance: 107.3 km / 66.7 miles
Total elevation gain: 940 m / 3080 feet
Average speed: 27.9 kph / 17.3 mph