Day 9 - Sunday, 5th March 2006 - Boorowa to Binalong
The final night briefing is the time for the announcement for next years ride. This Year they didn't. They did confirm that a ride was on, but the new organisation team have fresh ideas that they want to investigate. They are hoping to hold the ride later in the year, more like March or April rather than late February like this years and last years ride. I think a lot of people are waiting to see where next years ride is as well as what the new ideas are before committing themselves.
There was a lot of bad organisation this year that surprised many, it was a new team, but surely someone must have known what was involved. Another good announcement last night was changes to luggage. Next year, no hard cases, and nothing strapped to the outside of the bag. This got a cheer from us at one of the back tables. As was said, luggage suffers from velocity, although we take care with the bags, they do get thrown around to unload the truck quickly, subsequently hard cases and chairs etc strapped to the outside are dangerous. Last night, there was no official final night part, so we sat in Cafe Big and just talked. Many people did go into town and so they were returning at all hours.
Last night was cold, probably the coldest night of the ride, that and combined with a snorer in fine form made it a bit of a restless night. When I woke up, I tried to identify the snorers tent, but I could see at least three tents rippling with the force of the snores. The start was still at 7:30am, and so I had a relaxing final breakfast and pack up. We got away on time as has been the case except for Day 2. Today was a fairly flat 30kms with no mass finish, I had wanted to try and time trial today's distance, but after yesterday I was unsure if I would have the legs for it. I didn't warm up this morning, so when I left my muscles were really feeling it.
Today was a beautiful morning, clear, sunny with a nice crispness in the air. There was no wind, and although a breeze did pick up, it was very light and only a crosswind. We had a right turn early on, and by this stage I had warmed up enough. I kept the pace high and was pushing pretty well. There was the odd hill, but only slight rises so I could keep my pace high. The profile for the day was slightly uphill to about half way, and then slightly downhill to Binalong. I occasionally checked my computer for distance, and it felt like the hills stopped beyond half way. I was raced up one hill by a cow and calf in a nearby paddock. The road today was a bit dead, and at times quite rough, one cyclist had left early and as I passed him he encouraged me to "go for it", I couldn't respond as I was pushing so hard.
The lead policeman today kept behind me. It was fantastic as it allowed me to forget that he was there. I was aiming to do today's ride in 55 minutes, but I always knew it would be close. The road by this stage was tree lined and great cycling. I saw a house number and I had just over a kilometre to go so I really started pushing.. We had two 90 degree corners to pass under the railway bridge, and I slightly over shot the second, I turned the final corner and sprinted uphill to the finish flag, my time? 56:16, so I missed out by a small margin. I was still happy as I was trying to do this with a cold start, after 8 days of hard cycling. Today really restored my joy of cycling from yesterday. On my way to Boorowa, several times I just wanted to ride over, today it ended too soon. Today was made for cycling.
I went to a local cafe and watched and cheered the other cyclists in. Binalong really turned it on for us. They closed about 4 streets and had stalls along a few of them. I sat around for about 90 minutes before looking to box the bike. Alan was hoping to get his original box back as his was a bit longer than the normal ones. He luckily found it among the several hundred. Mine was very easy to locate, as was boxing the bike. I watched everyone else unload the luggage truck and I got changed for the trip home. The buses weren't due to leave until about 2pm, so we had plenty of relax time. We went to the pub and again sat around. The buses showed up late, and only got away at about 2:30pm, we had an uneventful and quiet trip back to Sydney.
At the rest break, I found an old University friend was also on the ride, but we never realised it till the trip home. The bike truck beat us to Sydney, so we had no waiting for them. After that it was a taxi home and the usual enjoyment of the missed luxuries.
Total + Extra Riding
The washing up stands.
Finally, after about 550km
How to you get a bike box to the truck. Or two.
for more Photos from Day 9.