The Ballan Classic

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In 2012 I was incredibly fortunate to survive a nasty crash.  Unfortunately I got thrown from my Mountain Bike on a walking trail on Shepherds bush in Glen Waverley.  Flying well over 2 metres and landed face first on the ground and could have easily been killed.  I didn’t suffer concussion, my glasses broke and amazingly didn’t go into my eyes, I had no neck or spinal injury.  My lip got ripped up but did no damage to my teeth.  I just managed to completely screw up my nose, which required plastic surgery.  The bad thing was this happened on the eve of my 5 year wedding anniversary.  This I ended up spending in hospital……..
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Somehow she forgave me.

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The Ballan Classic
Don’t be nosy!

 

I had been really looking forward to doing the inaugural Orica Green Edge ride which was 2 weeks from the accident.  Realistically I needed to be able to ride 150km to do that ride.  My only hope was to get straight back onto the bike following surgery.  And being able to ride without being able to breathe through my nose.

 

5 days after I had the surgery I had a 150 km event in Ballan.  Given what happened to me I originally pulled out of it.  I realised that my only hope to get in shape for the Orica Green Edge Ride was to do the Ballan Classic.  Possibly I could at least do the 50 km distance instead.  When I arrived there was only 20 riders doing the 150 km distance.  It was pretty poor that we weren’t given maps, but directions which were useless.

5 km turn right onto blah, blah, blah, 700 metres turn left onto…….

 

Many roads didn’t have road signs so this was useless.  There was no way we could stop start or navigate so had to rely on these tiny arrows posted here & there.  I ended up riding with a rider by the name of Chris Cox.  He couldn’t climb for shit, but was incredibly strong on the flats.  He knew my dilemma and when it came to the turn-off for the 50 km he said that I should go for it and he’d pace me.

 

I took him up on his offer and the ride was a bit of a blur from here.  The course changed direction countless times and there was a really strong wind.  You’d be riding with a tail wind and shortly after change direction and be in pain city.  Even with this powerhouse sheltering me from the wind.  The last part was a joke as the signage was poor and we ended up getting lost.  Somehow doubled back to Kryal Castle (Mount Warrenheip), and did the climb twice.
The Ballan Classic
Kryal Castle

Several directional signs blew away and we would have gone the wrong way if not for a course marshall who directed us the right way.

There was no mobile coverage out there, so no google maps that we enjoy today.  Most of the riders got lost, and even with all of our struggles Chris and I managed to be amongst the first to get back to Ballan.

 

It was a struggle but I survived, and this gave me confidence to do the Orica Green Edge ride the following week.  I mentioned this to Chris but he said that he was working.  A week later in Nagambie I got a tap on the shoulder and Chris changed his mind and came and rode it with me.  A great friendship developed and think I might have gotten Chris addicted to climbing.  Many of my biggest rides have since been with the one they call the CC rider!
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