Ride to Ballarat

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I’ve had several V-Line adventures in the works, but I basically need a full day to do them.  With the right weather conditions.  7 days after my first triple century, an opportunity arose.  I worked out a route going to Ballarat and guestimated it to be around 260 km’s.  Figuring I could pop in to say hi to my Auntie & Uncle in Mount Helen along the way.  As long as I got up at 2:00 am I should have the time to do it.
It was a beautiful morning, and I had the roads to myself.  I planned on going via Beach Road.  The direct route would be to take the Dandenong Creek path up to Carrum.  I looked at the map, and really wanted to do Beach Road from Frankston.  Which would add what I guestimated to be an extra 15 km’s.  As a bonus I  could snare a few PB’s on the way.  

Surprise, surprise I guestimated the distance wrong 🙁
Ride to Ballarat
View from Port Melbourne

By the time the sun had come up I had almost nailed a century, and was feeling strong.  I pushed myself for several PB’s, but wondered whether I was foolishly killing energy.  After leaving Frankston I came upon two riders that were travelling slightly faster than I was.  Preferring to hitch a lift so pushed & caught up to them.  Our group just grew, & grew, & grew as we kept going.  Getting faster & faster.  We were averaging 32 km/h to start with.  Towards the end of my time with this group we were pushing close to 50 km/h near Black Rock.  

I could hold on, but was giving it a 100% in doing so, and I knew I was nailing PB’s left right & centre.  A voice inside was screaming “slow the fuck down!  You’ve still got over 150 km’s left to ride!”.  The group thankfully splintered at Black Rock, and I was left to ride alone, and hurting.  I had hoped to join a group to give me an easy trip up Beach Road.  

Not do a smash fest on an Audux type ride. 

I managed to get to Port Melbourne and was hurting, and knew I’d have to be careful with my pacing.  Taking the foot off the accelerator a little.  

I was able to take bike paths all the way out to Werribee.  But unfortunately knew that I had really bad times on them, so was pushing myself as hard as I comfortably could without really hurting myself.  I was conscious of the fact that I had a heck of a lot of riding ahead of me.  And could bonk badly if I did this wrong.  From Werribee I started to struggle.  I headed up Ballan Road.  This is the longest straightest road I’ve ever travelled up, at about 25 km’s. 

The road was narrow, there was a fair bit of traffic.  My legs were hurting and it was as boring as all bat shit.  I had to go into my happy place to get through this road.

I realised that I miscalculated the distance, and my original prediction of 260 km’s was now going to be closer to 300 km’s.
This forced me to keep a good pace to finish it on time.  As soon as I turned off things got better.  One of the major motivation for doing a ride like this was to get another chance to ride through the Brisbane Ranges.  They are one of Victoria’s best kept secrets for riding.  I will happily ride there any chance I get.  The main climb through there isn’t overly hard, but is challenging enough to make it worth your while to visit.
Ride to Ballarat
Heading towards the Brisbane Ranges

I paced myself up the climb, and given the lack of climbing throughout the day really enjoyed this one.  A little down the road was Merredith – Durdidwarra Road which I was keen to revisit.  Last time I rode down here I crawled at a snails pace.  Foolishly I wanted a decent PB in this section and absolutely hammered it.  Getting a really decent time, but cooked myself.  It was really hot, and I stopped in Merredith to top up my drinks, and get a much needed icy-pole. 

Several riders at the General store said I looked a bit wrecked & asked me where I’d ridden from.  The look on their face was priceless when I told them. 

One of them said “I thought we’d done a big ride today with 130 km’s”. 

To get to my Aunties house I needed to go straight up the Midland highway.  Given I thought that the trip from Werribee was onerous.  This one was close to 45 km’s of straight road.  With a light head wind to make it all the harder.  I was in the hurt locker and I grinded my way up to Buningyong. 

Time went slow, and it was after 3:00 pm in the afternoon when I left Merredith.  I was conscious of the setting sun.  Given how tired I was I was able to push out a decent tempo.  But was going a couple of k’s slower than I was earlier in the day.  As I neared Mount Buningyong the road started to rise.  I had never been through this area before.  I grinded up this hill that seemed to go forever.

 This ended up being 3 km’s @ 3.2% which nearly killed me. 

When I got to the top I recognised the top of the Nationals course and knew where I was, & knew it was all downhill to my Aunt’s.  I had 275 km’s in my legs, and still had a bit of riding ahead of me.  I took the back way around the Nationals course to get there.  Arriving at around 5:00 pm.  Boy did I enjoy being able to sit down in a comfortable chair after riding for almost 14 hours.  I had a great chat, and respite for about an hour and a half before heading off to the train station.  This thankfully was all downhill.  It was such an amazing sight descending into Ballarat as the sun was setting. 

When I got to the train station I had an annoying 295 km’s on the Garmin.  Sad to say that I had to ride around & around in circles for awhile to notch up my second triple century in just over a week.

Ride to Ballarat
Ballarat
I was spent, and enjoyed the rest on the train on the way back. 

Unfortunately there was a lengthy delay at Southern Cross Station.  I didn’t get back to Dandenong Station till after 10:30 pm.  There was 11 km’s to ride from Dandenong Station to home.  Taking the bike trails and rode ever so slowly.  I left home at 3:00 am and didn’t get home till after 11:00 pm, and was truly an epic adventure.  There were only 4 medium sized climbs on the ride with just over 2,000 vertical climbed.  I’m usually not big on flat rides, but thoroughly enjoyed this one. 

I averaged just under 27 km/h which was stoked at, as I was still new to long distance rides.  Blown away that I could do a ride like this.  Just over two weeks ago I had wondered whether I’d be able to ride a triple century.  Now I’ve done two in consecutive weeks.

Here is a link to my Strava Activity here:

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