Hills were promised, but first, the four intrepid cyclists who turned up for “Karen’s Killer” this morning, had to get there.
From Corio Library, it was all against the wind along Cox Road and Anakie Road. Helen, as usual, was last to make the turn from the uphill into Lovely Banks Road (formerly Purnell Road). The very strong head wind continued to Maude, with several significant undulations. Near Baker’s Bridge Road some Lycra clad serious types sped past in the opposite direction – a race, our pedallers wondered as they engaged ever low gears for the climb?
The long sweep downhill after Maude saw Karen and Kelly totally fearless. Helen and Rick were more cautious in the wind gusts from the left – north west (that’s their story, anyway). After this, the ride entered bushland, and the wind ceased to be a problem. We had arrived at stage 2 of the ride – serious hills.
Now for the first of the two ‘categorised’ climbs – over Sutherlands Creek to Steiglitz – the climb that just keeps giving. Kelly, ever the gentleman, supported slower riders ably till all finally made the right turn into the dreaded De Motts Road.
A number of vintage cars had made heavy weather of the climb in the other direction – they were still climbing out of De Motts Road as our riders, after regrouping, made their way through the bushland downhill. Half-way down Rick called for a stop. At first it seemed there was a puncture; then Kelly diagnosed a broken spoke. After a quick, bush cyclist’s repair, it was off again, down the steep section till the final bend. Then, speed fell off dramatically as the lowest gears were engaged for the climb out of the valley. There was plenty of time to enjoy the bushland scenery, the scent of the wattles and the call of the magpies (heard but not seen). It was not easy! The rewards were great as the four regrouped again for the delightful ride through the bush and the long descent to Ballan Road and coffee at Anakie General Store – A VERY WELCOME REST!
It was noon when the group set off again for Geelong, along Ballan Road. The wind was finally favourable, still very strong with the occasional gust from the side keeping the group on their toes. There was a moment for silent reflection as the cyclists passed roadside memorial for Gordon Ibbs near Carrs Road.
Pedals truly flashed – the speed was 30+ kph, and increased when the group turned into Anakie Road with a pure tail wind. At Princess Street, Karen, Kelly and Rick turned off. While the distance was less than 70km (78 for Helen), the ride was a hard, but very rewarding one.
Thanks to Karen, our new Ride Coordinator for once again running this challenging ride.