After surviving my manflu I wasn't anticipating any heroic riding this weekend. In fact I had committed to some extracurricular work activities (which involved driving a mini loader) so was less than optimistic about riding too far.
Saturday morning I rode with Ben on our Asquith St loop and varied it with a new segment through Mangerton, and then I spent a solid 5 hours at the controls of the loader shifting railway sleepers and building garden beds. The loader was fast though, and by the end of the day the planned weekends work was done. Cue Barry's email that he was riding up through the gong on route to the Pie Shop with his triathalon club and would I like to meet up?
I thought that I would, perhaps not all the way but at least some of it so I arranged to meet at 8.30am at the Harbour and set off from there with the group of about 25 other riders. Apart from Barry I didn't know anyone but chatted along as we cruised through the flat lands around the Lake and towards Albion Park. Bunch riding is always an interesting experience, some riders have impeccable discipline, other's less so and I worked to avoid to swervey wobbly riders, admired a nice Cervelo R3 and winced at chain crossing and poor fit.
We stopped for water briefly at Albion Park before heading along in single file up the Illwarra Hwy towards the pass. The climbing began to string the group out a bit and as we neared the bottom of the Pass most of the club members pulled in to regroup and to contest the KOM, while I just rolled through.
It was pretty warm now and the climbing was hot, and there was lots of traffic and a large number of vintage and veteran cars en route to a car show in Bowral. My inner rev head enjoyed the progression of MGs, Sunbeams, FE Holdens and the odd Jaguar. I was less enamoured of the modern motorcyclists who were racing themeselves and overtaking on blind curves however. They were just dumb.
As I passed the 2 thirds point on the climb I was passed by a few of the faster triathaletes, but only a few and was soon at the Pie shop for the second time in a week, enjoying their wares and cooling my heels waiting for the others to arrive.
Sure enough they were soon all there. Most were getting lifts back to Cronulla though a few were planning to ride back to Albion Park Rail for the train, while Barry was aiming to ride all the way home. So four of us set off for the descent and enjoyed a traffic free screamer. One of Barry's mates, Peter, dropped like a stone and we were flat out trying to keep him in sight. I learn't a lot on the way down.
It was a steady roll back into town after that. The other's had some cramps and a puncture and then there was a headwind but being relatively fresh and nearer to home I enjoyed sitting on the front and tapping out a rhythm, though I'd sometimes roll off the front and have to slow down.
Once back into the City we rode past the Wollongong Station and Peter opted for the train for the rest of the journey while Barry carried on, arriving back home in Sutherland at about 7pm with 240kms done. I did 105 which was a pretty easy day in comparison.
I quite enjoyed the ride though, a bit of variety was a treat, the waether was great and I was feeling well recovered from my cold.