February. The second month of the year and officially the last month of summer down here in the Southern Hemisphere. I’m sure there’s still plenty of hot sunny days left yet and it’s way too soon to think about fading warmth and fading tans. With that in mind, it was another early Sunday roll-out to meet with the SunDaze bunch. It’s been a few weeks since my last regular Sunday ride, so I was gunning to get back!
The SunDaze ride is a “multi bunch” ride, where a couple of groups form naturally around rider ability and speed, but we all regroup at certain spots on the course. Depending on who turns up, I can be anywhere from getting shelled out the back of the front group, to surfing wheels in the middle.
With an early start to beat the summer heat, I’d already clocked 40km before meeting the bunch, so spent the opening kilometres sitting on wheels and saving energy. A few of the regulars were away riding up North, plus there were a few riders I hadn’t met before. I wanted to get a good feel for the bunch and who was riding well.
One person was back though. Remember the time trial bike rider from a previous SunDaze? They were back, this time on an older bike with downtube shifters! Really? This isn’t the 90’s no more! For the first couple of kilometres they shot off past the bunch on the downhills, drifted back to sit the front, then slowed down on any little rise, causing us to all roll over the top. They also proceeded to tell everyone they don’t like riding in the draft or having people on their wheel. I mean, if you don’t like drafting and sharing the workload, why turn up to a bunch ride? Anyway, that’s my rant. I just steer clear and look after my front wheel.
Heading out to the “Tea Trees” I could sense the pace was about to lift as Stu got on the front, so I slipped in behind. I could feel my watts creeping up to stick with him. A minute later I looked around and nobody was behind me! Looks like we had ridden clear of the rest and formed today’s “A” group (okay, Stu rode clear, I did the odd short turn on the front but was hurting to match pace). We (yeah alright, he) ripped around the rough, lumpy back section at over 35kph average.
Pulling into the cafe with a slither over 85km in the legs, I was hanging for that double espresso and jam tart! It certainly hit the spot and went down way too fast. Some rough mental maths calculated it was 15km direct to the car. The sun was starting to bite and I was low on water, so I decided the direct route (over Brinktop Hill) was a good choice today.
Saying my goodbyes from the café, I crawled up Brinktop on empty legs, then enjoyed a tailwind assisted roll towards home. It seems my maths was on point as I arrived back at the car with an “enough for today” total of 100.9km. It has been a busy month with mostly shorter rides, so it was good to get a longer ride in the legs.
Distance: 100.9 km / 62.7 miles
Total elevation gain: 937 m / 3075 feet
Average speed: 30.2 kph / 18.2 mph