Following the Riverina Romp I decided to move my new bike purchase forward and took delivery of a Cervelo R3 last week.
After a few tuning rides I felt confident to remove the saddle from my faithful Roubaix and attach it to the R3 for this weekends 3 Parks Ride, a 200 km brevet that is known for it's relentless pursuit of hills.
I had scheduled the ride in the Audax calender, but at this time of year there's a bit going on so I found myself the only taker for the ride. I had the company of Harvey on the way up the pass but after that I was on my own. we started at 6.30am and the early conditions as we rode across the flatlands were foggy, cool and moist.
At the top of the pass Harvey and I parted ways - Harvey for a Pie at the Robbo Pie shop and me for the undulations of Tourist Road. Tourist Road is a favourite for many local cyclists and it was typically beautiful on Saturday, especially so as the fog began to lift and the warming rays of the sun came through to brighten the road as I approached the watershed of the Nepean River. From here I traversed across the valley, resplendent in its autumn colours, and I enjoyed the short but steady climb out the other side and onto the Gibraltar range ridge.
Range Rd which follows the ridge line above Bowral and Mittagong has a few steep climbs before plunging down into the town of Mittagong, where, with 70ish kilometers up I stopped for breakfast at the Tick Tock cafe.
From Mittagong it was downhill to Picton (more or less) though I experienced some navigational uncertainty when I took a turn off the main road to find a new and unfamiliar subdivision in my path. I'm pretty sure that it wasn't there last time, so I spent a bit of time nosing around before finding the correct turn a 1km or so back up the hwy and enjoyed the fast downhill run to Picton via many of the smaller highlands towns. During this section I was feeling very comfortable on the R3, it was predictable, comfortable and when I pushed down on the pedals it went forward.
I stopped for lunch at a Cafe in Picton and chatted with an older couple about wildflowers in Western Australia, while I enjoyed my pie and coffee. As the next section of the ride was going to be a bit lumpy, I was in no hurry to get away, especially as I had quite a bit of time in the bank despite the climb of Macquarie Pass and getting lost earlier.
Eventually I dragged myself away and once again found my rythm while enjoying the ride of the Cervelo on increasingly broken road surfaces. Once over the rollers on Menangle Rd, I turned right into Douglas Park for the dread Gorge. From the bottom the Hume Freeway bridge towers above, so I stopped for a photo and then commenced the climb. It's not especially long, but has grades of 25% and above for short sections, so I was glad to make the top.
By Broughton Pass things were becoming a bit overcast
with clouds scudding in from the north and the breeze beginning to lift. Nothing too dramatic but while I had afternoon tea at Appin I was wondering if I was to get wet, especially with the most hectic section of the ride coming up between Appin and Bulli Tops to traverse, I was hoping for good conditions.
The trip acorss to the tops was dry but busy and the crossing of Loddon Creek on the single lane shoulderless bridge was heaertstopping, but nevertheless survivable. As I turned onto the old Princes Hwy I felt the first few drops of rain and before long I found wet road and then rain that kept me company through to Stanwell Tops.
Rain aside, I was on the homeward leg now -with a tailwind to boot - and with more time up my sleeve than I normally do, I pulled into Bulli for second afternoon tea and an energy sustaining caramel slice before cranking out the 10kms left for home
Riding up the hill towards home I coasted into the driveway just on 5pm. A little damp, but pretty happy with the day's riding and very impressed with the R3. Later I was surprised by how fresh I felt and put that down mostly to the bike.
The ride data told me that I spent 8hrs 31 minutes at an average speed of 24.7kph which meant I spent two hours stuffing my face and taking photos. Quite a nice day out really.
Mileage in Kilometers = 4337