Short, easy 72.5 km ride with Nikki this morning.
The day started off with the plan that Alicia and Nikki would be doing a 50km loop and Roger and I doing a 100km loop, starting and ending in Wahroonga. I left the house just before 6:30 to ride the 9km up to Wahroonga and meet up with everyone else. As soon as I got out on the road, I realised that I had forgotten something. Even though I had been up since just before 4 am, I didn't think to eat anything... A quick stop at Danes Cafe near the Wahrronga train station will solve that issue so no need to turn back.
Riding up through Gordon, there was an ambulance parked outside a McDonald's with its emergency lights going. I wonder if those fries finally took a life...
Stopped at Danes, grabbed a coffee and slice of banana bread then rode over to the train station car park to wait for the others. Yes, I can ride a bike with a hot coffee in one hand, though I am still in the design phase of adding a cup holder to the bike. As I roll into the car park, I'm reminded that the first day of winter was yesterday.
While waiting for everyone else to show, Roger calls to let me know that Alicia and him were dropping out of today's ride but would stop by for a coffee. Nikki arrives, gets her bike and gear sorted and we head over to Danes to meet up with them. Of course, Alicia has to show up with her new bike to tease me a bit more. At least she was pleasant enough while I drooled all over it :)
After coffee, Nikki and I headed off to do the 50km route I had mapped out. Up Pacific Highway to Berowra then down to Berowra Waters. This is the first time I've ridden down to Berowra Waters from the eastern side and even though I was looking forward to rocketing down the 200m descent (over 4km), the road was just a bit too wet to indulge my insanity. With the low lying clouds and a bit of morning fog, Berowra Waters is absolutely stunning!
Nikki arrives at the bottom of the hill a little bit later as she has a much better sense of self preservation than I and we wait for the ferry to take us across the river.
Then it's a 200m climb out of Berowra Waters and through Arcadia before turning south to Galston's Gorge. The course had us on a road I haven't ridden before and I had to stop when we came across an orange grove. To me, there's nothing like a little orange grove to prompt a Kodak moment...
After the orange grove, we jump on Old Northern Rd. and head south to Galston. This is also when we learned that they had the road totally torn up and it's a complete mess. Fortunately we're not on this road for too long before turning onto Mid Dural Rd which takes us to Galston's Gorge. The ride down to the gorge is a 180m descent on a narrow two lane rode that bottoms out with a single lane wooden bridge.
The bridge spans Berowra Creek which is part of the river that goes through Berowra Waters. It just doesn't support boating as well...
Feel free to scroll up and take another peek at the Berowra Waters photo and compare the two pictures of the same body of water. I'll wait.
Now we have to climb out of Galston's Gorge. This is probably one of the easiest climbs we do around here as it's only a 160m ascent with half a dozen switchbacks. Riding down this hill is a blast as you get to go from top downhill race speed to nearly nothing because these switchbacks are 180 degree turns. Another benefit of riding up this hill, over down it, is that you get a chance to enjoy the view of the hills and gum trees that make up the gorge.
After climbing out of the gorge, the road flattens out and we ride through Hornsby, get back on Pacific Highway and cruise on back to our start point in Wahroonga. I don't remember when my last Saturday ride ended up being less than 100km but it was nice to slow down, take it easy and enjoy the ride. Thanks again Nikki for riding today!
Next weekend I have my thoughts set on a 200km course I've mapped out and the following weekend is another 300km Audax ride. If I manage to keep to my ride schedule for the month, it's possible that I may end up with a total of 1500km, or more, which will put me comfortably over the half way mark for my 12,000km cycling goal for this year. As of today, I've completed 46% of this goal with a total of 5,508km on the bike(s).