Anti-biotics – check. Cough medicine – check. Nasal spray – check. Cold & Flu tablets – check. I had been sick for 3 weeks now. And still not healthy, but after three weeks of being sick I had to ride. It was Fathers day, and my son William is 10 months old. He’s been keeping us on our toes, but is my pride and joy. I had to celebrate and what better way than to go for a bike ride.
Rowville Riders Fathers Day Ride
I joined the Rowville Riders on their loop up to Sky High. The story behind the Rowville Riders is quite special. What started with a handful of mates. Has grown into a community of riders who offer regular social group rides and a very supportive of riders of all abilities. They welcome anyone to their rides. Even a bozo like me. The Rowville Riders have recently merged with the Blackburn Cycling clubhey are fast becoming one of the biggest riding groups in the Eastern suburbs.
I rocked up just before 7:00 am at the Rowville shops & Luke was complaining that his missus didn’t want him to go out for a bike ride as she wanted to have breakfast. “fathers day is about me isn’t it? I should be able to do what I want which is to ride”. A sentiment that many of us went through to get out to ride. I think I speak for most male riders to say that birthdays, Christmas, Fathers Day etc, etc. The greatest gift we can get is a leave pass to ride. Over two dozen showed up to enjoy the Rowville Riders Fathers day ride.
11So I got new pedals put on my bike this week. I had been given them last year & had been sitting in my shed. I put new cleats on my shoes as well & went to test them out and they wouldn’t click in. One of the guys joked “how did you earn your Grey stripe when you can’t even click in?”. We worked out that the pedals that I was given were Shimano shoes, & my cleats were Look. And Look they weren’t compatible……
One of the guys Joe lived around the corner. He offered to lend me a pair of shoes which were a few sizes too big, which sounded great. I went to follow him, and as the story of the day goes, followed the wrong rider. Who when I caught up with realised my error. I worked out that I could ride without being able to clip in. The Look cleats sat in the Shimano pedals ok. My next problem was the fact that the group had left & I would have to push to catch up with them. I pushed hard, and took over 8 km to catch them at the Ferntree Gully train station.
The 1 in 20
When we got to the base of the 1 in 20 we realised that Joe wasn’t there & was waiting for him. He showed up shortly with a pair of shoes in his back pockets. YOU BLOODY LEGEND! And the cleats made it so much easier to ride. A fact that I was thankful about on the 1 in 20. My legs felt great, but my lungs didn’t. I struggled to breathe through my nose so I cruised up in a modest time of 22 minutes 20 seconds.
Everyone was in great spirits, & I was able to enjoy great conversation along the way. We made our way up to Sky High. Where we took a brief break before heading down the Mount Dandenong Tourist Road. This is one of my favorite descents, as the corners are all free flowing. You can take most of them at full speed. It was no surprise that many passed me as I’m not that quick downhill but I never mind. I’m always there for the up.
We stopped briefly at Montrose, and I had been great at pacing myself up to this stage. I definitely didn’t want to make myself any sicker. Around the corner from Montrose is this nasty little pinch. One of those that I really love, and had been on my wishlist to smash for years. We turned left at the big roundabout and my legs were feeling strong & I couldn’t help myself. I stood up and gave it some gas to test out how I would go & went flying. About 2/3 of the way up my lungs reminded me that I couldn’t breathe & my legs started to feel heavy. I managed to average 36 km/h up this 300 meter hill. Then found myself out the front of the group.
I wanted to pace myself again but found myself amongst the fast riders on the front. Getting dragged along Canterbury Road at 40 km/h. I could keep the pace easily enough, but my lungs weren’t liking it. By the time we hit Boronia my body wanted to go on strike, but I kept pushing.
It was a great day & I was so lucky that I got through it unscathed. Special thanks to Joe for the loan of shoes. I would have struggled over Mount Dandenong without any cleats.
If you ever get the chance I would highly recommend you join the Rowville Riders on one of their group rides. They’re a great experience.