A nice 230km ride last Saturday with four other Audax riders to Wisemans Ferry.
After the shorter ride to rest the hamstring the weekend before, I was ready to get out and do some decent distance. On Monday, I decided to map out a route that would take me on River Road along side the Hawkesbury River. I had ridden this road a few weeks back during the Audax Ride the River 150km ride and absolutely loved the ride and the views. Unfortunately, that was the week before I had a change of mindset and began enjoying the rides more and snapping photos of everything that catches my eye.
On Tuesday I had gone from mapping out my own route to seeing what permanent ride routes were on offer with Audax. If I were to do a permanent, I could get the points associated with the ride as well as the ride I wanted. Win win! The ride I selected was the Ferry Long Way Around 200km which gave me the distance and route I was looking for. I immediately emailed the ride organizers, Howard and Bec, to let them know I was wanting to do the ride and find out what was needed as it was my first permanent. I didn't hear anything back until Friday when Howard let me know that he and a few others were planning on doing the same route, only in the opposite direction, and asked if I wanted to join them. In the end, I not only got to ride the route I wanted, for the distance I wanted, but I was able to ride it with a group of great people and cyclists!
The ride started off around 6:30 with Galstons Gorge being the first destination. This is a nice descent on a rode that has half a dozen switchbacks and this time, a very dense fog. One of the riders, Wayde, had on the new Audax Australia reflective vest which has a mostly white backside. As we found out, he easily blended with the fog and we lost sight of him. Because of this, the rest of the ride included a string of "Where's Wayde" jokes. The other folks on the ride were Howard, Bec and Phillip who are not only great cyclists but also run the New South Whales Audax chapter.
After Galstons Gorge, we headed west to Windsor and our first checkpoint. When I had left the house, the temps were in the low teens (Celsius) and I had on a wind coat. After the 11km ride to the starting point, I was boiling so the jacket was stuffed into the saddlebag. During the ride to Windsor, the temperature dropped to its lowest point for the day of 0 (you know, freezing...). It's not easy to drink a coffee when you can't stop shaking long enough to take a sip before it sloshes out onto your lap. Oh well, there is more than one way coffee can be used to warm you up.
After Windsor the route turns northward and we hit the first of two ferry crossings.
Howard (back left), Phillip (center) and Wayde (right) on the ferry as we cross the Hawkesbury River.
A shot of the river from the ferry.
After the ferry crossing we get on River Road which was the reason I wanted to make this ride again.
The following pictures are just a sample of how beautiful this part of Australia is.
A good portion of this road includes rock cliffs on the right and the river on the left.
In two sections, the road turns to dirt for no apparent reason. I assume a couple people on the road crew have wonderfully paved driveways now...
River Road takes us to Wisemans Ferry which is our second checkpoint and second ferry crossing.
(Left to right) Phillip, Howard and Bec.
The Hawkesbury River again.
After the ferry crossing, we are on Wisemans Ferry Road which follows the river for a while longer before a nice long 15km hill that takes you from sea level to 325m above sea level. It's not a hard hill to ride but it feels like it will never end...
After Wisemans Ferry Road we hit Peats Ridge Road, our third checkpoint and turn south towards home.
The sun is setting and the temperature is still nice making the last 60km or so very pleasant. With about 30km left, I felt like I still had too much left in the tank so I turned up the speed in an attempt to burn out my legs before the ride ended.
After over nine hours of riding and about thirteen hours since I left the house, it was the end of the Audax portion of the ride. I still had another 12km to get home but not before having a beer and a plate of chips (french fries) with everyone else on the ride. Is there any better way to finish a long day of riding?
This weekend is another Audax ride for 300km!