During the week, I was chatting with Robbie Rowlands, the creator of the Cardina Climbers club. He wanted to put out a challenge starting that weekend called the Spartan Challenge where you need to do a 300km ride which includes 3,000 vertical of climbing, & 3km’s of riding on dirt. I had a few ideas, but wasn’t sure if it was something I could do. My longest solo ride I did a couple of weeks before with 203km’s, and this was a whole different league.
I planned on doing a Peninsula loop from home. It had been on the cards for ages, but needed to wait for a day with hardly any wind. I had envisioned it turning into a 300km ride, but knew it would have to be one special day for that to happen. With hardly any wind forecast and a perfect day I set-out at 3:00am, and enjoyed the roads to myself. I was setting a brisk tempo, but not setting the world on fire. I had done all of this ride before, but all in sections, and not in one ride, and I was curious how I’d go.
I went down memory lane, remembering this ride and that along the way. I surprisingly made it to Hastings in one piece and was feeling pretty good. I decided to pick up the pace a little heading towards Cape Schank which was a big mistake. That section is horribly undulating, and had a little bit of a head wind and I cooked myself a bit. I descended down to Cape Schank, and was struggling, and wondering what I’d gotten myself in for, and had to sit around for about 10 minutes before I had recovered well enough to continue. From here I headed out to Dromana, and was feeling so-so, and at this stage was looking at heading home from Carrum which would still be a PB 250km solo. I was 50/50 on what I wanted to do, and I know that it may sound strange, but I felt that I was struggling as there were too many flats and I may just needed a good hill to warm me up. I figured I could use Arthurs Seat to get kick started, and smoothly glided up it and passed several riders on the way up. I stopped at the top for a few quick photos, and headed out, and thankfully the next 10 km’s was mainly downhill, and I recovered well during this section.
The weather was heating up, and I somehow got stronger as the day went and still had some legs when I hit Frankston. It was going to be a 50/50 call when I got to Carrum whether I turn right down the Dandenong Creek trail, or could I keep going straight and head to the city for the 300….
How could I not go for the 300? I haven’t ridden Beach Road all that many times, but I’ve done it enough to be able to coast up it if required, and just enjoyed myself on the way to Port Melbourne with about 270km’s in the legs, and actually felt like I could keep on riding for quite a few more hours. It was 4:00pm, & I figured I could take it easy and take one of the bike tracks back, and the question was do I take it the easy way and go back Schotmans Creek, or take the long way through the Eastern Freeway track?
I went the long way. I ran out of daylight, but still had my lights with me……. That was until my front light crapped itself around Wantirna, and started to splutter, and I was riding blind most of the way from here. It was 7:00pm, and I knew that I had 300 in the bag, but remembered to complete the Spartan challenge, I needed 3,000 vertical which I was still short on, and needed 3km’s on dirt.
This was stupid given my light wasn’t working, and the dirt road I picked was pitch black. I headed off the Eastlink trail onto Bushy Park Lane, which is a dirt road and was 2km’s long. The light kept flickering on & off, and it took me forever to navigate down this road. I crossed High Street Road, and went down Nortons Lane which is also dirt to complete the challenge, and also got me back onto the bike trail at Jells Park. The day went really well, but the last 25km’s took forever as my light just wouldn’t work. Thankfully when I hit Endeavour Hills, the lights started working and was able to cruise home. I rode 322km’s that day, and my legs felt like I could have kept on riding. This ride was more special as it was unplanned. I envisioned doing the Peninsula loop, and the dream was to ride to the city and then take the train back, and I couldn’t have ever dreamed of doing all the rest. I sent Robbie a link, shortly after his little event started saying “does this qualify?”.
Think I raised a few eyebrows. I was in contact with another Cardina Climber during the day John Beech, and just to show me up knocked out a triple century the following week in style.
It wasn’t an easy lead-up as just a month before this ride I was overcoming a horrible chest infection. I then knocked out a 156km ride, a 203km ride, then a 211km ride before today, and went I went through this amazing purple patch. The following week I rode out to Ballarat from home, but that’s another story……..
Here is the link to my Strava File: