I was looking forward to this ride for ages. This was the first ride that I did with both Chris Cox & Sam Poole. I had never done the 28 km climb up the back way of Donna Buang, and was really looking forward to it. I was a little sick leading up to this event. But a cold wasn’t going to stop me trying something like this. The ride started with the field smashing Little Joe. I personally rather save the energy and smash the HC climb. Suggesting that we head straight up the main climb & do Little Joe after.
I had met a bloke by the name of Milinda just the week before, and signed him up on Strava. He saw a thread that I was doing this and decided to come on down. I didn’t think he’d done much climbing, and asked what he’s done. His reply was “I’ve climbed the 1:20…..”. And he was going from climbing up that once to climbing a 28 km climb…….. We all looked at each other and thought he was going to be in one lot of hell. To his credit he did it, in a time of about 2 & a half hours.
It’s great that Hells 500 & the Climbing cyclist puts these events on, as it introduces a lot of riders to new types of climbs.
We headed off with the group that was doing the shorter route. Dropping them straight away on the climb. It was a strange one. Chris had to drop off to take a piss, and Sambo was complaining of a really sore back. I was blitzing it, and feeling great. About 4 km’s later Chris managed to catch up and was completely out of breath. I was wondering whether he would recover, and Sambo was really fighting hard. This isn’t the first time where I’ve felt great and crashed, and unfortunately won’t be the last.
I hadn’t fully recovered from my cold, but don’t like excuses. After the Don Road turnoff I started to feel a bit woozy, and as soon as we hit the dirt section the lights went out. I could keep the pedals turning, but was going through my own private hell. I tried to eat a fair bit of the food that I brought, but that was no easy task. The dirt section gets closed over winter, and was covered in debris. We had to constantly dodge obstacles, and occasionally bunny hop branches. It’s hard to ride on a bumpy surface dodging objects and get your food out and eat at the same time.
Especially when you bonk.
Chris of course recovered and went harder, and I didn’t understand how much of a hard man Sambo was at the time. Even with the sore back he just got stronger as the climb went. It was a classic bonk, and I can’t believe that I was able to hold onto Chris & Sam’s wheels whilst bonked. I recovered, and was into the pain cave all the way to the top. When we reached the Mount Donna Buang turnoff we came upon a strange sight. Like an oasis in a desert, Andy Van Bergen’s parents had set up a Café in the middle of the road. There were all sorts of homemade delights. They had a power generator going and was doing fresh Scones and hot drinks.
We still had over 1 km left to get to the summit, and kept going, and it was a nice thought what was waiting down the road for us. Chris flew up the climb, and I just had to pace myself up to the top. We were the top 3 fastest on the day, but then again we did cheat by not doing Little Joe first.
We descended back down, and went and did Little Joe. I had completely cracked at this stage and this was one of my own private hells getting up it. Sam left us, and Chris planned on heading back up to Donna. I just couldn’t do it, but wanted to reach my hundred so opted to cruise around the backstreets instead. I was wrecked and should have gone home, but I am stubborn, and at least got a bit of exploring in.
All up I had a great day considering the circumstances of not being 100% that day. I was a big fan of Michael Jordan, and it’s always in the back of my mind his famous “Flu” game, where he totally smashed it in a finals series when he could barely stand. I’ve pulled out a lot of great performances sub-par, and guess I enjoy doing the impossible. Rides like this don’t tickle though, and it can still make me shudder some of the pain that I’ve put myself through.
Here is a link to my Strava Activity here: