After my recent trip up North to tropical Brisbane, it was a bit of a shock to be back in full fingered gloves, arm and leg warmers. Getting out on the road before sun-up was more of a struggle than usual. The days should be getting longer, but it doesn’t feel like it yet!
The weather was forecast possible showers, so I opted to take the alloy Aithein out. It’s the bike I took away to Brisbane with me and I had just put it back together after the trip. I don’t ride it enough. It is a fantastic bike in it’s own right. It’s everything a road bike should be really. Classic double diamond frame, external cables, mechanical groupset, rim brakes. Simple yet fast.
After the usual 30-ish kilometre solo effort to meet the guys, I slotted into the bunch as we made our way the “direct route” to Richmond for coffee. Sometimes I find this a little short, and I’d rather get a bit more time in the saddle before stopping (which is why I always try and rack up early pre-bunch distance). We soon had a good roll going on in usual “SunDaze” style, sharing the load into the wind.
Cresting the climb that signals the “5km to coffee” mark I thought about the sprint. A few of the “heavy hitters” were missing, and I was feeling fresh enough. Why not have a crack! The pace was picking up and onto the final straight the group was down to five. I took a couple of short turns, wary not to drain the legs, then Terry let a gap open to the front rider. The two behind me suddenly jumped to bridge and I had no choice but to put in a big sprint to join them. It definitely burnt a match! In the process, we dropped Terry, and I was sitting a comfortable fourth wheel of four riders.
Approaching the last left-turn I snuck up into third wheel. As we sped towards the town sign I positioned myself on the outside (I got boxed in last time, rookie mistake) and then jumped HARD, opening up my sprint early! I came around Michael and the rider in the front, hitting the wind and putting everything through the pedals. I could feel Michael trying to get past me, but I held everyone off, convincingly taking the town sign sprint. Chalk up a victory to the metal bike amongst the carbon!
After a quick congratulatory coffee, I ducked out to clock a few more kilometres. Especially when it’s cold, I don’t like to stop for too long. At around the 80km mark I spied a bunch of riders pulled over. I got closer and realised it was the SunDaze guys! Terry had clipped the wheel in front and hit the deck.
Seemingly in sympathy, Michael’s Di2 had gone into “crash mode” leaving him stuck in one gear. A quick Google found the solution; hold down the function button for five seconds, then spin the cranks. The Di2 will automatically shift through all the gears, then be reset to normal. What did we ever do before Google? (the answer is we used mechanical gears 😂)
Above: Shimano Di2 junction box in the bar end.
After we made sure Terry was okay to to press on and had sorted Michael’s bike, I tagged along with the bunch for a bit before splitting off again. I thought my mental calculations would get me over the line but I soon realised I wasn’t quite going to hit the metric century. I’ve got 99 problems, but today a 100 was not going to be one!
I tacked on a short loop through the estate to ensure I brought up the hundred, then rolled it back to the car with a slither over one hundred on the Garmin, plenty enough for a chilly winter’s morning.
Distance: 100.4 km / 62.4 miles
Total elevation gain: 803 m / 2635 feet
Average speed: 29.2 kph / 18.1 mph