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?"
Great effort guys.
Sorry to hear about the mishaps but that IS cycling. Hope Juz's nose heals quickly and I'm sure it won't stop her from cycling for long. Pete and Andrew, don't screw around with bent or damaged hangers - replace them. You have little choice Andrew so hopefully a short visit to Uncle Gary's will get you sorted.
You all looked a pretty spent bunch in the Saturday arvo/night pics so bravo for backing up the next day.
Riding epics like this one will give you the confidence to tackle just about anything - NO Fear.
I rang Gary yesterday and it turns out my hanger is for a 2010 Pinarello Dogma, and he only had one for a 2011 Dogma - so I've had to order one. If it fits I'll buy a few more and stick a spare in my saddle bag.
Derailleur hangers are a strange thing ... they break easily but there's hundreds of different ones, so quite hard to replace. The guy I spoke to at Star Cycles (not sure it was Gary) had a little rant about them too!
My knee's on ice for the second day running, no way I'll be at SOBR25 today. Just starting to rain as I type too.
Broken bike/noses/knees aside, I'd do a riding epic like this again in a flash. Until the 200km mark, I was having a blast. I'll organise a 2013 repeat ... if I can wait that long!
Ice for 2 days ?
Check with dr as 1st aid advice would indicate ice treatment for 24 hrs. (RICER = rest, ice, compression, elevation, refer-to-professional). No medical advice intended but knees are tricky & expensive.
So do not always 'solider on'? Or you could be off the bike for longer.
Well done guys! (and gal!!) Not only an epic ride but an epic effort to overcome the disasters of day 2. While the pain may still be fresh now, it will subside and you will look back in time and be glad you did it!! Next time I might even sign up!!
@Andrew and Juz, take it easy and recover quick.
Holy ####! Every single one of you are absolute legends in my mind- Well done for perservering!
Epic is the PG rated version of what id call that ride....whoa man. Now im even more guilty for not making it to this ride...it shouldve been me that broke my nose! Hope you heal soon Juz, seriously try to relax as much you can and recover, damn i know how much a broken nose hurts..and on a cold day even worse. Sheesh!
Andrew i think you earnt a rest as well as your beast of a bike. I hope this is like that saying "what doesnt kill you, only makes you stronger" but that sounds a bit corny. Next time i will be there even if its the apoccolypse the next day...and the first thing ill pack is a 1st aid kit, and second thing id pack is Gary Mills. :P
i'm actually really regretting persevering through the pain right now - my knee is not good at all. I have no idea how long I'll be off the bike, but I sat on one today and spun the pedals backwards ... no good. Ow. Enjoy the roads without me!
Sounds like you should have an ultrasound to me.
Woosie ! Broken derailier hanger .Get out chain breaker (on the multi-tool), break the chain, tie derailier hanger to chainstay (or take it off ), decide wot gear u want & join chain. Y've now made one of those ridiculous singlespeed thingies. Ride on.
Great ride sumary & pics. Hope all better soon.
I did offer several times to use my chain breaker and do as above, but we were so close to home ( Andrew's home) when the hanger finally broke, he could have almsot walked home before I would have made the road side mods.
Personally, I reckon Andy did a fantastic job riding from Strath to Gawler in just one gear, just a shame his knee was bashed in the first crash, or I know he would have carried his bike if he had to to make it to the front door...
incredible journey. I can only imagine the highs and lows of this kind of ride. An experience to never forget. Glad Juz is ok. Poor thing,