The RBWR: A hump day hammer fest

The RBWR – or Richmond Bakery Wednesday Ride – is a Tassie institution. This weekly bunch ride is technically advertised as “no drop” ride, but if you want to hang with the fast guns, then it’s more like “no drop as long as you can grit your teeth and mash the pedals.” That’s fine with me as I may not be powerful, but I know how to grit! It’s a 50-60km morning ride that you should really show up for fresh and ready to hustle.

I finally had a Wednesday free to join the guys (most of which I know from other local rides) so in true “why do you do that to yourself” form, I had Mrs TempoCyclist drop me in town on her way to work, so I could bust out an early morning solo 50km beforehand. Yep. Good plan. Especially as it was mostly into a strong headwind. I will admit it was not ideal preparation for the coming pain train!

After a quick ride brief explaining the day’s route, six of us formed the “A Group” and took off North straight into the wind. I did a short turn or two on the front, but I knew the other guys on this ride were strong (and hadn’t emptied themselves before the main attraction) so I kept it short and below the red zone.

The pace soon fired up though, with Stewi and Jock going clear off the front. I watched from second wheel as the gap quickly grew to around 50 metres before deciding enough was enough. Lewis swung off and I pushed the pace on the front to close down the gap. I had to put in a big “match burning” effort to bridge and I think I paid for that effort for the rest of the ride! Too soon, junior…

Still heading due North, I had to really clench my teeth at times just to stay on the wheels and any turns on the front were short enough to ensure I could still “catch” the draft when swinging off. I may be short on raw power compared to some of the bigger guys, but I make up for it in “want to” and grit!

Choosing the right bike helps too. All out AERO needed today!

I knew there was a categorised climb before the u-turn back, but I had no idea of the length or severity. Hitting the base I let the stronger guys battle it out ahead (let? yeah, right) while I settled into a sustainable pace alongside Andrew and Lewis, a climbing pace I knew I could sustain for at least half an hour. Thankfully it was only a sub-10-minute effort.

After a quick regroup at the top of the climb, we clipped back in and bombed the return leg. Low in the drops, on the gas, high speed. After the twisting descent, three riders managed to create a gap, leaving Andrew and I to chase (I say we, but Andrew’s big time trial engine did most of the work). Despite our best efforts and averaging 42kph over the final 15km, we never got within 100 metres of them and that gap grew. One last turn on the front to try and gain some ground and my legs said no more. Thankfully Andrew took over with a long pull to roll us back into the Richmond Bakery car park. I was done!

After a well earned double-espresso and slab of cake, I said “thanks for the pain” to the group and time trialled my way home, straight over another Cat 4 climb followed by a well earned descent into Sorell. In a stroke of luck and timing Mrs TempoCyclist was passing through again and met me with the car and a second coffee. Now that’s a great way to end a ride!

I clocked 60km at 32kph for the RBWR and 125km at 30.8kph total for the day. Needless to say my legs were toast!

Distance: 125.1 km / 79 miles
Total elevation gain: 1146 m / 3760 feet
Average speed: 30.8 kph / 19.1 mph

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