On the eve of my first baby being born I finished my 3rd Spartan ride. The Spartan Challenge was adopted by the Cardinia Climbers late in 2014. The challenge thrown down was that you would do things in three, and do them tough. To complete the challenge you needed:
- To become a member of the Cardinia Climbers club:
- Complete a minimumof 300 km in one continuous ride
- A Spartan must be a good climber, and on this ride must climb a minimum of 3,000 vertical
- Most importantly a Spartan must be willing to get their hands dirty, and must travel a minimum of 3 km over gravel roads on their Spartan Adventure
Spartans were one of the most feared military forces in the Greek world. At the height of Sparta’s power – between the 6th & 4th Centuries (BC). It was commonly accepted that, “one Spartan was worth several men of any other state. Spartans are Warriors!
And for finishing a ride like this you get recognition of being one big Bad Ass rider!
When Robbie conceived of the idea of the Spartan ride he sent me a few messages asking what I thought, & I gave him some ideas. When he launched the idea I cheekily went and rode a cheeky 300 km Spartan ride several days later. Becoming the first Spartan. I then went and took Christian Purnomo out on a Spartan ride in March this year.
I saw a group Spartan ride being organised by Richard Moody & said I’d join up. The party would include Scott Wells, Richard & John Beech (JB). With a baby a little over a month away this is to be my final long distance epic for a long, long, long, long time. The Cardinia Climbers challenge was all about the “3”.
What more appropriate way to end but with my 3rd Spartan.
I was incredibly lucky in the morning. Getting there early, I had parked my car in a dark backstreet in Beaconsfield and was fortunate to survive a potential car jacking. I was a bit shaken and spent 10 minutes on the phone with the police. Not the best preparation for a 300 km epic. I wasn’t going to let something like that ruin my chance of a good ride.
Our loop took us North to the Dandenong Ranges. Then west across to the city where we would do a loop of Albert Park Lake. Then enjoy a tailwind down Beach Road before hitting the final & most difficult part of the ride the Mornington Peninsula. The forecast was for 27 degrees. Normally this wouldn’t seem hot. Given the freezing cold winter we just had we haven’t acclimatized to the warmer weather yet. Just to make it extra challenging, as the day was to warm up there was not a lick of shade anywhere. It was hot, hot, hot.
This was the first time that I had met Richard Moody & Scott Wells. Both are exceptionally talented riders and kept me on my toes throughout the day. I pretty much do all of my riding in the hills. My concern was about keeping the pace on the flats with the 80 km section between the Dandenong’s to the Mornington Peninsula. I was able to keep up surprisingly, but really started to struggle from Mordialloc onwards. I’m used to making regular food stops during my epic rides. All three riders were self sufficient bringing a tonne of food between them. Between the heat, and not eating enough I was really pushing myself towards the end.
John Beech unfortunately had a double puncture through the dirt section at the start. And by the time we hit Beach Road, we were running well behind schedule. The pace was high & fast, and there was a section on Ferntree Gully where we were sitting on just under 50 km/h on a flat section.
This had me wondering how I could possibly keep a pace like this up over 300 km?
At Cape Schank we split up. Scott & Richard left us & rode the last section with JB. The last 100 km was a struggle. The wheels were still turning freely, but I had been experiencing major pain in my shoulders & my feet were swelling up from the heat of the day & was battling pain and discomfort.
We were battling the setting sun. Which eventually beat us and we had to ride Clyde Road in the dark which was not pleasant riding on a major road in pitch black on a narrow road.
The day was a success. I nailed my 3rd Spartan. John & Richard nailed their 2nd & Scott Wells was now crowned the newest member of the Cardinia Climbers elite squad.
For those that aren’t members would highly recommend you join the Cardinia Climbers. They’re a great bunch of blokes.
Many thanks to all of the riders who came along to support our ride throughout the day. We were lucky to also bump into a few ole mates with David Coulson & Karl Billeter: