We started with smiles and high expectations and finished with broken noses, broken bikes, cuts, bruises, grazes, swollen knees -- and smiles. This is the tale of the inaugural Port Elliot to Gawler cycling adventure!
Andrew, Pete, Dave and Jane (Dave's wife who graciously ferried our bags to and from Port Elliot) waited patiently at Jaspers, Evanston, for the ever-so-slightly-late Michael at 7am. Wishing us well as we headed off to pick up Juz at Kersbrook were Frank, Wilson and the other congregating Gawler Wheelers, who were departing on their regular ride from the same point.
Note my (Andrew) thick wooly gloves, supplied by Dave after I discovered my usual winter long-finger gloves were not up to the weekend's task! My wife promises you, Dave, they'll be returned good as new (!)
The first stop was Kersbrook, to pick up Juz. (Dave, Juz, Pete, Michael, Andrew)
Saturday was an absolute dream ride in great weather. 133km, we arrived just after 1.30.
Stop at Hahndorf for a pasty and a pee.
Damn pre-hydration ...
we're there! my GOD we were hungry! Pete ate 2 pies and THIS!
we're not tired ...
The first 40-odd kms to Strathalbyn was wet and miserable, but uneventful. Until Pete and I both crashed on the slippery train lines. My derailleur hanger was fractured, so we thought over what to do over a coffee. I decide to complete the journey (100+kms) without changing gear. I'm in the big ring, second-largest gear on the cassette. This is going to warm me up ...
A few kms later, on the awful Strath->Mt Barker road, Dave crashes. I crash into him. Juz crashes into me, striking the aero spike on the rear of my helmet with the side of her nose. Riders, bikes strewn across the road. Mad dash to pull dazed riders from the approaching traffic.
Juz's nose is obviously broken. Space blanket out.
We flagged down a passing police car, Juz gets in out of the cold and rain and an ambulance is called.
Incredibly, my parents in law - who live 500 metres from us in Gawler - happen to be driving past on the return from Clayton. They stop, and Juz's bike is loaded into the boot. It's going to Gawler. She's going to the RAH in typically good spirits.
That's my father in law Tony in the white jumper. What a bizarre day.
Just before the ambulance door is swung shut, she calls out, "Where's my Garmin? How am I going to download my ride data tonight without my Garmin?"
Somehow, although the bars have to be twisted back into alignment, my bike can still be ridden, even though it has crashed on the broken derailler hanger-side for a second time.
And then there were four. Pete, Michael, Dave and I head disconsolately for Mt Barker in the miserable weather. Downbeat. Right knee starting to hurt.
Of course, this is where Pete gets a puncture. "I ******* give up," I remember saying.
We get to Mt Barker, eat lunch and have a coffee, and plug on. It's a bit of a race against sunset now.
The rest of the ride - for me at least - was pretty horrible, even though the weather cleared. I'm somehow pulling up the hills in a ridiculous gear, and then spinning a ridiculously high cadence to maintain a half-decent flat pace. For 100kms.
When we got to Kersbrook, my right knee totally shot, with 25kms to go, my back muscles gave up as well. No choice. Not giving up. Keep going. Lots of pain.
Pete and I say goodbye to Dave and Michael at the Kentish Rd turn-off on the Gawler->One Tree Hill Road. Handshakes all round. It's been an epic, immensely challenging, friends-for-life kind of experience.
Pete says quite poignantly: "Even with the same outcome, I'd do it again." Tellingly, Juz's text to all of us on Sunday evening was identical: "I'm ok, rather sore and the face-ache is spectacular but I had such a good weekend, I'd do it again even with the same outcome." Hear, hear. Just tell that to my knee right now (and my wife!!!!!!).
One last disaster. On the final few kms to Gawler, the rear derailleur hanger finally cries enough. It swings into the spokes, I wobble, pull over and pull out the phone. Bike unridable, the last few kms are done in the car. "Hi Dad!" "Hi girls." "How was your bike-ride?"
Sounds like an epic trip, apart from the crashing and falling over bit, hope all have recovered well.
Passed you in my car coming into Woodside, remember at time thinking numbers were a bit low. A day of drama and pain, glad all will recover, no doubt stronger in many ways for your experience.
Oh my, that was epic! Who walked under a ladder on Friday.
Well done on looking after each other, planning for support in advance and carrying a space blanket which was the original reason I posted my first aid kit discussion.
Let's hope everything gets repaired (I think Gary at Stay Cycles is in for a busy week) and injuries heal fast.
Epic indeed !! At least the ride there was good ..
Hope your knee & Juz's nose heal well ..Well done on nearly making it back ..
Great ride! Great epic!
Oh, those wet train tracks...
Hope you all repair and feel better soon, including the mechanical ones.
So sorry that you have broken bits, especially you Juz. I have a huge amount of empathy for those of us with broken bones.
eeeuuw!! I feel it...
Katrina, how are you going with your recovery?
slowly, slowly, slooooowly...
thanks for asking :-)
Amazing adventure! So lucky no cars close by when you all went down! Living legends all of you in my book - just for riding so far in one day, and then backing up the next. Let alone bringing home a broken nose, or riding 100km in the hills stuck in one gear! Hope that knee forgives you for all the punishment it took in that 100km!
Well, I just got out of a nice relaxing Radox bath, and then spent 10 minutes playing with my rear hanger ( on my bike) . Still not quite right, but good enough to bash out SOBr tomorrow. I think I may need to buy one of those hanger straightening jig thingo's or else stop falling off my steed... Giving it a well deserved wash will have to wait until later in the week.
Nice report Andrew, especially since you said yesterday that you had no energy left to relive the experience in writing this report ....
Kudos to Juz who minutes after breaking her nose was smiling away, despite being in obvious pain, more worried about he bike & Garmin. Here is Juz sitting in the Police car, warming up & waiting for the Ambos to check out her injures and Juz's Garmin showing distance travelled on day 2 before the crash.
Andrew did a Fantastic job on his Single speed, unable to change gear for over a 100km Grinding up hills, & spinning like mad back down, until finally the crack in the rear hanger finally gave way ( as you can see in the photo earlier ) and his journey came to an end on Dead Mans Pass !
For me, Yes, I fell at Strath, my first fall on my new steed, but I was lucky enough to fix on the road, & all but high and low gears were available to me.
295km over 2 days of travelling, a new record for me,and good training for my London to Paris trip next year.
I arrived home feeling pretty fresh with no Cramps at all (my nemesis ) , and enjoyed the ride into work this morning, however I do admit to being just a little tired whist sitting at my computer all day today, and was happy to ride home with the thought of that Radox bath to look forward to.
Im now looking forward to spinning along the SOB tomorrow on SOBr25 and collecting my ruck to finally end this trip !
Oh that's the best bike story ever!
Would have liked to seen Juz's heartrate at the time of going down, good to see you all stuck it out together.
I told you at the start take the "SKODA" quick stop, change bikes and then go. Hope to see you back on the road soon.