Thanks to Dave Simpson for this personal account of his adventures on the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road People’s Ride
Last year I did the short, 68km Cadel People’s ride so this year I decided I had better do the ‘proper’ 114km ride. I rode to the start at Eastern Beach from my home in Leopold and the crowd at 6:45 am was already huge, a sea of yellow. I had arranged to meet my friend Joe and his family to ride with but due to a communications problem we didn’t line up together. No matter, I thought we could meet up further down the road, more on that in a minute.
I set off at 7:15 and it was easy riding, no wind to speak of, and I got down to Barwon Heads pretty quickly and stopped at Annie’s for a coffee. I had sent Joe a few texts to try to meet up but as it turned out he was actually way down the road in front of me and had not stopped for a break. I was just putting my bike into the rack in front of Annie’s when who should turn up next to me but Joe’s wife Kylie. She was riding the short route with a friend so I was able to share coffee and some delicious food with them.
Setting off after our stop we had the pleasure of riding along 13th Beach Rd, closed to traffic and no cross wind, highly unusual for that part of the world. I said goodbye to Kylie and pressed on towards Horseshoe Bend Rd toward Torquay. There weren’t too many riders left sporting the black numbers indicating that they were doing the long ride and the marshal at the Horseshow Bend left turn yelled at me that I’d have to push to avoid the route cutoff time. So I picked up the pace and once through Torquay and heading to Bells came upon lots more riders who were grinding up the hills on Jarosite Rd. My recent course of lessons on the spin bike came in handy to help me cruise up the hills and make up time and I was soon riding along Forrest Rd heading torwards Moriac.
I had a brief stop at Moriac to fill up the water bottle and grab some of the free energy bars. It was a great day to be out riding the bike and I was soon on Hendy Main Rd going up and down the rolling hills. Suddenly a car went past with two of the Dimension Data team riders following. I tried to catch up to them to wish them well for the race on Sunday but there was no possibility to catch them, and they were just on a training ride!
Then it was on to Barrabool Hills Rd. I had ridden this very recently with both the Wheels on Wednesday group and on Shane’s Barrabool Hills Classic so I knew what to expect and was able to cruise along pretty comfortably. Soon it was up the climb on Scenic Rd and then down and across Queens Park bridge and then up the dreaded Melville Ave ramp. I managed to stay on the bike, in my ‘granny’ gear and out of the saddle and once over the summit was able to relax and speed down the hill towards the finish kite. I looked down at my GPS and was amazed to see that I’d achieved a moving average of 24km/hr over the 114km route, so I was pretty pleased with myself.
Just then I got a text from Joe who had seen me riding down Church St while he was riding up to where he was staying in Hamlyn Heights. He invited me up for lunch so it was back on the bike to ride up Church St again! The marshals were getting ready for the arrival of the riders in the Women’s Elite race but they let me through and after lunch I was able to see the race from the top of Hyland St, at the cement works. Then it was off around the Barwon River track towards home.
I ended up riding 155km, my average cadence for the day was 78rpm I and had a great day. I’m definitely signing up for next year’s ride! …and I got a very nice yellow jersey to wear when out riding with Cycling Geelong!
Editor’s Comment: Dave’s recent training has paid off. As well as rides on the road and with the MTB, he’s now taken to beach riding with his new ‘fat’ bike. Today, just to warm down from Saturday, and with a couple of rides in between, Dave rode 109 with Wheels on Wednesday. Well done, Dave.
Photos courtesy Sandy via Ian Baxter