It's summer time, and the rolling waves of Middleton were calling. But much as I love the surf, spending 10 days without a good bike ride just wasn't an appealing idea. But since the beach is a very do-able 100km from Adelaide, riding to the family holiday seemed like the obvious solution. It came at a handy time to train for the TDU Challenge Ride too.
So I put the call out to a few friends to join me on the ride. Early on Monday Jan. 3, I saddled up, left Mrs Snappy and the kids to pack the car. (this ducking out early has so far only cost me my biggest smile and lots of appreciative kisses, but I'm sure full payment is yet to levied) and met the group at the bottom of the freeway. It was B****y freezing and blowing a gusty Southerly, neither of which were in the script. 'Nothing to worry about', Don cried. 'This wasn't forecast. The wind will settle anytime now..' Famous last words. The Southerly howled and blew in our faces for every one of those 100km.
It was a good gang. Rob and Peter are my Wednesday morning coffee-ride stalwarts. They were joined by James who'll ride anything anywhere anytime- hard, and Lewis who may just be mad enough to train for the Alpine Challenge in a few years. Easytiger was waiting at the bollards, and and Geoff hooked up with us at Meadows Bakery.
I enjoyed the route. Through Mylor to Echunga, Meadows for the half-way bakery stop, then on to Ashbourne and Currency Creek. But I gotta say, we've all had better rides. As if the wind wasn't enough, we were also beset by mechanicals. One chain problem and three punctures slowed the ride and broke up the pack.
The chain problem was mine. I was cresting a rise near Cox's Scrub when there was an awful cruch from the chain ring and everything froze up. One side of a chain link parted company with it's rivet and had kinked up, fouling the cogs. Interestingly the chain didn't completely snap. I do carry a chain tool. I can't imagine what a hassle it would have been, stuck out there with nothing more than an Alan key and a screwdriver! Carefully I pried the link back into place and worked the rivet back through the hole. To my surprise it seated nicely and the link remained flexible. It's still running that way some 400km later. James also gave me good advice about not running from the large chain ring across to the largest rear cog. This combination is way off the natural 'chain-line' and places lateral stress on the links. So when 90 kilo me stands up on the pedals to grind up a hill, that gear combo is not doing my chain's life expectancy any favours.
Big thanks to Lewis who set aside any GC aspirations to act as super-domestique, and generally help out with the problems. For the most part the roads were quiet, except for the section on the Strath to Goolwa road, which had way too many cars whipping past your ear at 100 clicks- not exactly a relaxing road.
Given the weather, I shelved any plans to heroically throw myself in the Middleton surf and we went straight to beer and schnitters at the Port Elliot Hotel. There, we spun lots of BS yearns and kept out of the wind until various kind and loving wives appeared with cars to take their tired boys home again.
Thanks for coming guys. Next time I'll dial up some better weather.
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