Another 350 done and dusted!
The standard schedule for this event is first or second weekend of January, but due to a combination of Strava challenges and a chance of cooler weather, I decided to run an extra 350 event last Saturday 17th November.
For 2013 it is scheduled to run on Saturday 12th January… so keep that date free!
We had a combination of full distance riders, Seb Dunne, Aaron Coles, Chris Thompson, Steve Hanley and Bleeksie, then some that started with us and rode until lunch, Milly Brent and Beth Thompson and then a few that joined us part way around, Martin Worthy, Ron Brent, Simon Niemeyer.
A 4:30am start got us to Yass at 7:40am for a nice bacon & egg roll, with some of the best views and a brief stop for a puncture along the way, the views are well worth a Yass loop at some stage if you’re not up for the full 350km loop.
We worked our way around to Gunning, where Martin met us at the cafe (having slept through his alarm for the earlier start he rode directly to Gunning getting there a little before us), we had the first drinkable coffee of the day and some more food. Milly was feeling the pace and decided to ride directly to Goulburn instead of the long way around and up through Crookwell. Martin was a gentleman and kept Milly company to the lunch stop in Goulburn.
By the time we got to Crookwell, the highest point in the ride and half way around but two thirds of the climbing done, we had another deserved but short drink & food stop, Beth was now starting to feel the power in her legs slipping away and chose to ride her own pace to the lunch stop in Goulburn and her end-of-ride lift home. Somewhere towards Goulburn and after her second puncture was the time when Beth called ahead for help, only 20km to go but was happy getting a lift in Ron’s car.
At lunch we also saw Bruce who had ridden directly to Goulburn to then ride with us along the last section, but as we were 30 minutes behind our already later than usual schedule he decided to ride straight back along the Highway again, nice to see you at lunch 🙂
So from Goulburn on we had a couple of fresh legs in Ron and Simon and some legs with a few less km’s in them from Martin.
This was good and drove our pace up on the way home during the last 130km, or should I say 95km as all three of them cut the last bit off short….. softies.
A strong tail wind and much less ascending was giving or average speed a good boost, and we were in Bungendore in record time, making up most of the time we had lost earlier in the day and being pretty well back on schedule. I struggled a little along the way but improved again after Bungendore. I had been eating and drinking so much during the day that a fair amount of time after lunch I could re-enjoy the strawberry smoothie…. the body just could not process enough food (I’ll be making up for it for a few days to come).
Smith’s Gap was slow, although still a PB for me as we had a slight tail wind and I only ride there during the 350km events. Then the freshest legs abandoned us cutting into Max Reef while we still had to go Shingle Hill and Sutton to make the full 350km distance.
Now only the full distance riders left, plus still a little tail wind, we took the full Shingle Hill Strava segment as a clean 1st,2nd,3rd (plus a couple who aren’t on Strava 🙂
We kept doing such good average during the last section that we were home in a faster time then either times before.
We rode about 357km and averaged just under 31km/h.
Full distance riders: Chris Thompson (3x), Bleeksie (3x), Steve Hanley (2x), Aaron Coles (1x), Seb Dunne (1x)
Previous full distance riders: Greg Burghardt (2x), Steve Crispin (1x), Geln English (1x)
And more importantly this time we topped the all important Strava challenge “do 79 miles in a single ride” 1st,2nd,3rd 🙂 (at least for now)
Only winning from 10000+ total participants and 5000+ of those who have completed their 79+ miles.
This was truly an epic ride, amazing day and fantastic tracks to get right around ACT suburbs.
Rode it with Gary Rolfe who did an extra 20km from his home and back.
This year saw a lot more interest in the 350 ride, although only 1 extra person for the full distance.
We started at 4am from the ABC building and of the expected 10 to 12 riders 7 showed at the start. Bleeksie, Blunn, Kevin, Libby, Steve Crispin, Lisa K. and Greg were the ones that started the show rolling. After Stromlo we met up Steve Hanley and Chris Thompson, who had missed the start by a couple of minutes and managed to motor around Adelaide Ave to meet up with the, now a nice 9 person, bunch.
The road to Yass show two punctures, both for Greg, and a fair bit of Kangaroo spotting to avoid early retirement.
Breakfast stop at 7am in Yass, ca. 80km, to fuel up on drinks and some Egg & Bacon goodness. At 2km outside of Yass another puncture, this time it was Steve Hanley’s tyre that was slashed by glass and some Gu wrapper was needed to fix the puncture, very effective as it made it around the whole ride. It was looking like a puncture every 30km, but luckily this was to be the last one.
Keeping a nice pace we rode to Gunning for the first Coffee of the day, plenty of cakes and biscuits were consumed as well. Everybody still feeling good.
From Gunning it was on to Crookwell, which is the highest point of the ride and the half-way point for the 350 riders. The pace had to be tuned a little to make sure we didn’t leave anybody behind. After nursing the bunch to Crookwell and a quick drink refill and toilet stop, we blasted down to Goulburn increasing our average speed back to over 30km for the first time since Yass. It was a happy occasion to roll into the Green Grocers cafee/bike shop.
Lisa K., Matt, Kevin and Libby finished their ride at the 220km mark and Bruce (rode direct from Canberra to Goulburn to join in) and Roland (drove to Goulburn with fresh legs) joined us for the last 130km section. Compared to last year I, Bleeksie, was feeling way better and managed to eat lots of food which should make the next section go much smoother than last time.
Having done more than 3/4 of all the climbing before Goulburn the speed through Tarago and to Bungendore could be kept pegged at a nice cruise, with only a couple of small rises and 35 degrees temperatures pressuring some riders, me included, but a few minutes later all would be back up to speed. There was a slight side-tail wind that kept thing flowing and the closer we got to Bungendore the faster the bunch went.
Bungedore saw Chris eat his compulsory Water-melon, that he had been looking forward to from the beginning of the ride :). Stocking up on food and drinks, all of us knowing that Smith’s Gap was looming, once we made over that we’d virtually be home and hosed. Roland with the freshed legs found out there were Strava point up for grabs on Smith’s Gap so he went for it with Steve Crispin close behind, Greg and I cruised (or grovelled) up the hill. We all made it and it was a great feeling… only 50km to go from there.
Through Sutton and we were all looking for fresh water not being able to face drinking anymore sports drinks, but no taps available so water was shared around riders. We had to do an emergency stop at Eagle Hawk just for water and to stand in the shade for a cople of minutes. We were ahead of time compared to last year.
Chris, Steve Crispin and Greg did the border sprint to really use up their legs, then it was a nice fast but relaxed ride into Canberra. Four of us crossing the 350km mark at the Phillip Ave corner, except for Chris who had to ride an extra couple of km’s as his Garmin was a little slow in finding Satellites in the morning and he wanted to have a registered ride distance.
220km riders: Lisa Keeling, Matt Blunn, Libby Adamson, Kevin Miller
130km rider: Roland Trease
240(?)km rider: Bruce Luckman
350km riders (first timers): Steve Hanley, Steve Crispin
350km riders (second timers): Chris Thompson, Greg Burghardt, Bleeksie
“That National Parks sign has to be wrong – surely we can’t be on Blue Range road….”
“Its all down hill from here…”
“Should you get a lift back with the SES or will a ten dollar note will fix that slashed tire”
Twas a fine day for a ride in the Brindies and with map and compass in hand (old school!!) we left Brindabella road about 3kms past the Uriarra T junction. Â Following Wark’s road up to Lees’s creek and out onto Bendora Dam road we arrived at Bulls Head well before the planned lunch stop and continued on down Two Sticks until the Mt Coree turnoff beckoned. Â James took advantage of the 4wd traffic and me stopping to shed a layer and raced to an unbeatable lead to take the KOM points on top of Mt Coree. Â The climb wasn’t as bad as I thought and took about 20mins to get around the 10 rocky switchbacks. Â After stopping for lunch and waiting for the others we started to head back down only for James to get a MASSIVE slash in his rear tire. Â As luck would have it the ACT emergency service had stopped at the summit for lunch and offered James a lift back to his car (I recommend taking a spare tire next time).
After leaving James we continued down Two Sticks enjoying the down hill and sub-alpine forest. Â We came to an un-marked junction and took the wrong turn up Blue Range road and ended up a the back of the Blue Range Pine plantation which eventually spat us out about 1500m from our cars.
All up was about 1900m climbing and 66kms. Â I reckon you do it under 5 hours -if you don’t get lost….
The Bull-run crossing Kings Ave bridge in pretty good formation, even Bruce appears to be pretty well in line!