Saturday, 8 September 2012

Bloody headwinds, bloody hills and bullocks

Day one and we are finally on the road.  56km - shouldn't be too hard!

Boy was I wrong!  The ride start was great, with almost 1000 riders taking part in this year's tour.  Lots of scenery, a ride over a bridge, locals lining the street to cheer us on, it started idealically.  But at the 24km mark things turned sour.

Today's ride took us over the Binjour Plateau, a beautiful place but a hell of a climb.  1.6km climbing at 9% was a tough ask on my roadie let alone on my clunky tandem.  But we were tearing up the climb until traffic stopped in front of us and we were forced to stop.  At that point, it meant we had to push our bikes the rest of the way, however the downhill was pretty special afterward.

The rest of the trip was relatively uneventful, with lots of hard work on hills, mostly by Hayden, and the most breath taking downhill that saw us clock 70.2km/hr on the speedo under brakes.  I didn't tell Hayden the speed until we reached the bottom, but he wouldn't have heard me anyway, he was too busy woohooing behind me!

We had our first tiff on the tandem today when he accused me of not working hard enough.  I had to explain to him that I was pedalling as hard as I could, but the headwinds were wreaking havoc and there were times when we had to work hard to find momentum on the downhills.  It was like that for most of the ride, with the wind hitting us full in the face.  I have no idea what wind speed was, but know it was a hindrance more than a help.

With that and the hills now under our belts, I'm so proud of our efforts today.  We've had plenty of support from lots of people on the ride, particularly those urging Hayden on, and a lot of the guys are ready with a high five for him at the end of the day.  We've talked to lots of people already, all asking about how we are going and hoping to see us succeed.  It was bloody hard work today and it felt great when we finished as we realised what we had done.

We paired up with Brodie for a bit today too - he is a absolute trooper who just plugs away, and he smashes us on the hills, but we always catch him on the downhills!  He has raised over $4000 now for Rosie's and is well on his way to the $5k mark.  If you're reading this and haven't donated but would like to, you can find him on everydayhero.com.au - just search for Brodie and you'll find him.

Finally, on return to the campsite, we hurried over to see a display put on by the Gleneden Bullock Team - and had one of the most entertaining 1 1/2 hours at the show.  Rob is a school teacher with a hobby interest in bullock driving, and he took us through a typical day on a bullock dray with humour, frustration and a history lesson all rolled into one.  If you're ever up Gayndah way, drop in and see the show - its well worth the $20 it will set you back.

Today was now Hayden's longest ride.  Until tomorrow when he rides 65km to Biggenden.  And somewhere along this ride he will hit the 100 mark.  So a few milestones this week.  I'm just hoping the hills are a little milder in the morning!

More tomorrow. Same bat time, same bat channel.