When It all Started
Eight months ago I bought a bike, when I was 52 years old, after not riding one since I was 14 years old. A nice blue and white EMC 2.4, 2011 model with Rubino tyres and Shimano 105 running gear. I didn’t know what I was looking for except for some research on the web beforehand and was lucky to make a good purchase. The front tyre is still on the bike although it did have a short 2,086km break
So How Far Have I Come
The short answer is 6,945 km’s. The long answer is much more complicated. I started riding because after training to run for 18 months, in final preparation for the 2011 Adelaide Marathon, my knee broke down and I needed some exercise while my knee recovered. I restarted running training on the 1st of January which finally failed mid February at which time I declared I was a runner no more.
I have not been half hearted about my riding as can be seen by the number of kilometers ridden each month since I started.
- Aug 2011 216 km
- Sep 2011 391 km
- Oct 2011 560 km
- Nov 2011 756 km
- Dec 2011 931 km
- Jan 2012 956 km
- Feb 2012 833 km
- Mar 2012 1,504 km
- Apr 2012 838 km (up to day 16)
There was a significant drop off in Feb due to running and recovery from a further knee breakdown but I still managed to ride plenty.
Eight Months of Firsts
My very first ride of 13 km’s went well. I guess my second ride of 28 km’s when I had my first, well witnessed, clipstack at a busy intersection only two days after buying the bike. Only 10 days later I rode 53 km’s taking a jaunt along the coast all the way down to Aldinga.
On the day of the Adelaide Marathon I took my first ride from home to Henley Beach to cheer on the runners which was to be my first time climbing the veloway at Darlington. This was not to be so because I experienced my first puncture, on Marion road, just before reaching the veloway. After changing the tube the presta valve failed to seal leaving me stranded until a lift home was acquired.
On the 31st of August I managed to descend and ascend the veloway along the Southern Expressway for the very first time.
On the 3rd of September I went on my very first group ride. Riding down the veloway to join the group at the Seacliff boat club for a return ride to Outer Harbour and then riding back home along the veloway to clock up a 94 km ride.
On the 1st of October I joined my very first Muddies ride, a 48 km group ride starting at Reminis Hallett Cove taking in some of the Southern Expressway bike track, O’sullivan Beach, Christie Beach, Port Noarlunga Bluff and returning via the Coast to Vines track.
On the 12th of October I tackled my first category 3 climb, Bains road and succeeded without stopping and on the 14th followed it with a Bains Rd and Clarendon road climb.
The 15th of October saw me ride with the Muddies once again on a 60km jaunt along the Coast to Vines to McLaren Vale, through Blewitt Springs to Clarendon and returning to Reminis for a well earned coffee.
Cox’s Hill road was ascended for the first time on the 21st of October adding a new climb to the list of achievements.
A new group ride, the SSRC/Muddies ‘L’ ride on the 22nd Oct was my next target. Riding down to the start at Port Noarlunga and riding home afterwards gave me a combination group.solo ride of 86 km taking in McLaren Vale and the Port Noarlunga/Christies Beach beachfront as well as some new parts of Lonsdale highway.
On the 29th of October I discovered the Coast to Vines, through Marino & Hallett Cove for the first time as an alternative to the veloway to get South from the Adelaide Plane. This was part of another Muddies ride taking in Cox’s Hill road, Humpty’s hill descent and Blacks road.
A 103 km ride on Sunday the 13th of November broke the 100km’s for the first time. Taking a solo ride down to Outer Harbour and back but including the entire length of the Southern Expressway bike path as an extension.
Willunga Hill was broken on the 2nd of December after riding there and home afterwards clocking up 77 km.
My first Cat 2 climb was achieved on the 21st of December. Riding from home to the tollgates at the start of the climb to the bollards at Crafers. By the time I arrived home I had clocked up some 76 km in 34C midday heat.
The Muddies were responsible for my next first, climbing Chandlers Hill road. Another Saturday morning group ride covering 60 km through Chandlers Hill, Clarendon, Blewitt Springs, McLaren Vale and back to Reminis for coffee.
21st of Feb saw me stretch my wings a little riding 130 km including for the first time, the Port River Expressway, Salisbury Highway, Elizibeth, Bridge/Brians/Hampstead road, Port Rush Road and Anzac highway. Adam Willis suggested the route looked like I was flipping the bird to other riders.
I added a group ride with the Gawler Wheelers on the 10th of March, a nice 60km flat 1 year anniversary ride.
Something a little different, on the 12th of March I rode 116 km home from Nooriootpa, in the Barossa Valley. This set a new top average speed for any ride to date of 30.7 kph. taking only 3h46m to get home. I didn’t take the shortest route but rather decided to hit the beachfront at Semaphore and to follow the coast to Seacliff before using the Coast to Vines trail to return home.
On the 15th March I started the Strava climbing challenge pushing my rides more into the hills.
On the 20th of March I climbed Wickhams Hill for the first time as part of a 95 km climbing ride.
Mount Lofty summit was achieved, from the tollgates, on the 23rd of March for the very first time. This ride from home included Old Belair road for the very first time and covered 83 km’s.
2 new climbs on the 28th of March, Grant Gully road and Potters Road out of Clarendon. Potters Road was the toughest climb I had tried to date.
The Big One! The 31st of March saw me riding for over 10 1/2 hours with almost 12 hours away from home. Covering almost 190 km’s and climbing over 3,000m. A day of firsts with the first time up the following climbs:
- Cement Hill Marino
- Shepherds Hill road to Blackwood
- South Road O’Halleren Hill from Darlington
- Education Road Happy Valley
- Pennys Hill Road McLaren Flat
1st April started the “Ride Hard Breath Easy” Streva Challenge, to ride 800 km in April.
The ultimate end to 8 months, completing the Strava climbing challenge and the Ride Hard and Breath Easy challenges on the same ride, on the 16th of April, the second ride for the day. What can I say, climbing over 30,100m in 33 days and riding over 800km in 16 days! A specific blog entry about this can be read at http://www.pcsa.net.au/?p=3765
I Feel Achieved
Its now time for some serious rest. I will continue to participate in group rides and continue to help Lynn, my wife, learn to ride and encourage others to participate in social group rides but I think I am done for challenges for some time to come. It seems appropriate that as we head into winter that I will ride less and avoid riding in adverse conditions. I will look for quality rides so that I can enjoy rather than riding as a training exercise. Look forward to catching up with you on the road so we can enjoy some social riding together if you are a rider in Adelaide, otherwise, please, enjoy your riding and take a challenge once in a while!