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I did it!

Old 04-06-08, 08:00 PM
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Catweazle
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I did it!

A week ago I posted stating my confidence that the "metric century" ride would come soon enough for me, after a ride had taken me very close to that mark:

http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=402674


Saturday saw me pass that milestone. I've never before had anything whatsoever to do with Nicholson Primary School, but it's a place now forever etched into my heart, because it's the spot where I attained that magical milestone




Here's how the ride unfolded:



I wasn't actually planning to go an any sort of a distance ride at all. My son and his wife were staying over, and he and I were planning to jump in the 4X4 truck and go collect some stuff from his house. Amongst other things an unregistered motor bike and a spare washing machine of ours were in the way of packing up possessions in readiness for his move to new premises. The young'uns had been out Friday evening engaging in revelries, and weren't particularly early risers come Saturday morning, so after attending to chores I took off for a shortish ride.

After about 20kms of local road travel (19.46km to be precise) I returned home to find him finally up and about. After a fashion, because he was seedy. TOO seedy! Couch-fodder seedy, and not at all looking like promising much company or much assistance rolling a Yamaha up onto the truck so's I can bring it home and renovate the electricals! So I made a decision.

A quick break to fuel the truck and to throw some nibblies into the backpack, and then I threw the keys in the direction of the couch. "Follow me in a couple of hours or so" I said. "I'm gonna head out on the bike. Let's see how far I can get before you catch up to me!"

It was a beautiful day here by mid-day Saturday, with only a light breeze blowing and favourable predictions that it'd be north-westerly tending toward south westerly later in the day. The first 15kms of the ride will head north into that breeze, and when I head east after getting to Stratford I should have it behind me. I'd already had a taste of it during my ride, and it wasn't taxing me me much at all so I felt quite fresh heading off for the next leg. My family had a few chuckles, guessing how far I'd get. concensus of opinion seemed to be that I'd get as far as Billabong Roadhouse, about 40km from home, although Mrs. Catweazle seemed to think I'd make it to Bairnsdale, the next large town. I wasn't so sure.


That stretch of road heading into Stratford was a pleasant enough ride, despite having the breeze on my face. 23kph is a nice, sustainable speed to travel on the heavy hybrid, and I had no trouble maintaining it. The only incident to interrupt that leg of the journey was a close encounter with a big black snake. At first glance I'd thought it was a stick lying on the road verge, and I only deviated a few inches from my path. I sure lifted the leg high when I realised it was an angry animal rather than an inamate object!

It's inevitable that when a village is called 'Stratford' and it sits on a river called the 'Avon' you get people cashing in on old William's legacy. Can't be too profitable around these parts, though, because the theatre is up for sale!





The highway verge is nice to ride around these parts. It's quite wide enough to feel safe, and after a quick snack I headed east with a smile on my face. There are a couple of short, sharp climbs up out of Stratford, followed by a lengthy stretch of gradual gradient. 7 or 8km down the road I've reached the highest elevation of my ride, and have gently rolling country ahead of me. When I reach Providence Ponds it's time to head for the roadside facilities, have a snack bar and ring home. My son is still vegetating, and I told him not to hurry because I was feeling fine. The road weaves and climbs a bit after I cross the creek.




Past Billabong Roadhouse and I can have a chuckle at those who thought I'd get no further. There's another stretch of climbing ahead, and then it's an almost imperceptible downhill gradient for most of the way to Bairnsdale. I'm looking forward to some really easy riding, but that's not to be. The wind change predicted by the weatherman comes through, and I reckon the bugger must've had his compass sitting alongside a magnet. Funny sort of sou-west breeze this, considering it's hitting me in the face. Bloody thing is coming from the south-east instead!

Ho-hum. **** happens. Those almost imperceptible descents have turned into uphills for me. I have to ride from here. Easy coasting is out of the question.

The road verge has become a bit rugged along here too. There have been a lot of road repairs done along this stretch, and in place the only smooth ride to be found, without travelling in the highway traffic lanes, is a narrow strip of a few inches wide just outside the white lane marking the edge of the traffic lane. When I need to move over because cars or trucks are coming up from behind I'm left knowing that my decision to get a heavier suspension bike was a good one. For me anyway. I'd hate to be riding a road bike along this!

There's nicer riding a bit further along, though, and by the time I reach "11 Mile Creek" I know that Mrs. CW is going to win the wagering.



Sure enough, a bit further along I've reached Bairnsdale. To have ridden there is an enjoyable experience for me, because it's a point from which I want to do lot of riding in months to come. I've already known that I could ride this distance easily enough, but to do it well within the period of an afternoon is better than predicting I could, and I'm now confident that I can set off for some of the longer rides I plan to do later on, when winter is behind me. Down past the hospital and along into the town centre and I stop to admire St. Mary's Cathedral, as I always do when passing through.



I admire, even more though, the 'golden arches' just beyond it, because that's one of the few places in town open for business on a Saturday afternoon!





Time for another phone call, and my son is still lazing on the couch! "You might as well keep going," he tells me, "because you'll probably beat me to Metung!"

"Hey, hang on a bit!" I exlaim. "I'm kinda starting to feel a bit stuffed. I'll work out what I'm doing after a McCoffee. If I'm not out the front of here when you come through I'll be somewhere a bit further on. Keep your eyes open."

Time for a diversion after that McCappucino, and I remember that somebody on this board asked me if many people here in Australia ride 'Giant' bicycles. I've since found that quite a few people do just that, and now I notice that "Marriot's Cycles" has metamorphosed into 'Riviera Cycles", and is an agent for them. My goodness, those Giant bicycles sure are big!



There have been a few shared paths built around Bairnsdale here in recent times, and I have a bit of fun riding around checking them out once I cross over the Mitchell River. Then it's time to head east again. I'm quite close to that 100km of riding, and a quick bit of mental arithmetic has me wondering if it'll arrive as I roll down to the Nicholson River. That'd be good, because there a pub there!

Oh no! The pub is short of the distance, and I have to ride back UP from the river to get to my 100km point! Damn! Never mind. The photo is up there above, and there's a bit of daylight left so I can keep riding. After all, my objective was to see how far I could get, wasn't it?



A few km further on, and I pull up beside a friendly and concealing bush alongside the road. I've over-hydrated The phone rings, and it's my daughter-in-law checking to see where I am. Seems some of the motor bike loving family members had turned up and, together with Mrs. CW, my son had gone riding himself. I'm told that the truck is only about 10 minutes behind me, so I figure I've done enough riding. There's a hill in front of me before the road dips down into Johnsonville, and there's not really much point to continuing. I'll travel in the truck from here, and then enjoy a nice evening meal whilst waiting for my son to turn up and help load the Yamaha!

I'm pleased as Punch. Travelling like this is why I bought a bike. Now I'm doing it

Last edited by Catweazle; 04-07-08 at 07:50 AM.
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Old 04-06-08, 08:14 PM
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Kurt Erlenbach
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Good work. It's all downhill from here.
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Old 04-06-08, 08:14 PM
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By the way. 106.5km all up (including those diversions around town) and here's the ride:

http://www.bikely.com/maps/bike-path...c-Century-ride
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Old 04-06-08, 08:24 PM
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Congrat's Mate! Good On You!
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Old 04-06-08, 08:38 PM
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Well done, Catweazle! Congratulations on the metric, and thanks for the nice photos from your neck 'o the woods.

Be careful in Bairnsdale. The cars in front of the cathedral are on the wrong side of the road.

We had a pretty decent weekend here. No rain and wind, of which we have had plenty within the last two weeks. Got to ride on Saturday and today.
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Old 04-06-08, 08:48 PM
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Some nice pics. Looks like light traffic.
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Old 04-06-08, 09:06 PM
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Even the highway traffic was surprisingly sparse. Not that I was disappointed about that, of course

Originally Posted by doctor j View Post
Be careful in Bairnsdale. The cars in front of the cathedral are on the wrong side of the road.
Fond memories of a trip I took with an American friend some years back, taking him out to see some of the coastal sights one midweek day.

Rick was doing his share of driving when we arrived at the coastal flat country, and shortly after we'd turned into a lengthy and almost deserted stretch of road a car driver drove past honking furiously on the horn of his vehicle. Rick was looking rather puzzled as he remarked to me:

"What's with that guy? There's plenty of room to pass, and he's not even pulling back in!"

The look on his face was proceless when I casually remarked in reply:

"Mate! You've been driving down the wrong side of the road ever since we turned off at the intersection ten miles back. I was waiting to see if you'd work it out before a car came along and tried to run us over!"
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Old 04-07-08, 12:38 AM
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Congrats Catweazle on a great ride

I truely enjoyed your text and pics.

Happy Trails
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Old 04-07-08, 04:55 AM
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Good ride!
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Old 04-07-08, 06:37 AM
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Great ride and story!
The pictures were outstanding.

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Old 04-07-08, 07:06 AM
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Thumbs up, Mate. Won't be long before you're down at the LBS looking at carbon fiber bikes.
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Old 04-07-08, 08:31 AM
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A metric century? Oh, sure... throw that in my face

Seriously, fantastic job... I hope to join the ranks soon.
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Old 04-07-08, 12:05 PM
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Originally Posted by SaiKaiTai View Post
A metric century? Oh, sure... throw that in my face

Seriously, fantastic job... I hope to join the ranks soon.

Good ride catweazle- Now on the ranks of the long distance rider- Next target is to find a decent cafe at around 2/3rds. There must be something better than a Mcs.

Only problem now is that you are out of kilter with the rest of us. We are coming out of a long winter and still building up to "Sensible" rides. So SKT and the rest of us will probably be doing our Metrics or 100 milers in the height of your winter. Take it you do have winter?
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Old 04-07-08, 04:17 PM
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Yes, we do have a winter, and although we don't get snow cover on my parts I suspect that I'll also spend a fair amount of time out of the saddle. I'm susceptible to winter ailments and have no intention of doing harm to myself. With some bouts of pneumonia behind me, I'm rather wary about that.


SaiKaiTai, when I first joined up here a few weeks back I got the impression that most of the 50+ folk here were seasoned riders to whom lengthy rides were commonplace activity. The preponderance of threads here lent that impression, but the readings I've had opportunity to do since have shown that to not necessarily be the case. But I've also been learning that, whilst the rides some folk do might not travel the distances I've been confronting, they often include challenges I'm not up to conquering as well. The climbs included in some of the rides you've reported, for example, would pull me up cold! Others regularly ride in windy conditions which would leave me disheartened. We all confront ourr own challenges, I guess.

I'm well aware that my only real 'achievement' to date has been to develop the ability to stay in the saddle for 5 hours or more during the day, using the the knowledge I've gleaned from here to keep those pedals spinning around at a reasonable rate and feeling my way into timing the frequent gear changes well enough that they're made before I'm in trouble. And all that under relatively 'favourable conditions'. I've no doubt that, was I on a lighter and better geared bike, I'd be riding distances further than I'm doing now. But I ride mostly solo, and I want the security of feeling which comes from a bike comfortable enough to leave the sealed surface on. And despite the distances I'm now finding myself travelling, reports of rides like this one leave me aghast! I'm continually inspired by what I read on here.



Louis, looking is all I'm ever likely to be doing. I could well end up with a road bike in my stable at some stage, but it's likely to be a secondhand one. The more expensive stuff is forever out of my reach, I suspect!
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Old 04-07-08, 05:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Catweazle View Post
Louis, looking is all I'm ever likely to be doing. I could well end up with a road bike in my stable at some stage, but it's likely to be a secondhand one. The more expensive stuff is forever out of my reach, I suspect!
There are some excellent values to be had in the used bike market if one knows exactly what he or she is looking for.
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Old 04-07-08, 06:37 PM
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Good job Catweazle and great story. The one part I don't envy is looking forward to Mickey D's though. Once they stop serving breakfast there's not much I can stomach there.
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Old 04-07-08, 06:51 PM
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Originally Posted by ad6mj View Post
Once they stop serving breakfast there's not much I can stomach there.
The McCafe section serves quite nice cappucino and deli-quality cakes! Other than that, like you I couldn't stomach anything from there beyond breakfast!
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Old 04-08-08, 08:54 AM
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Nice pictures and good job. Are there any hills there?
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Old 04-08-08, 11:31 AM
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Originally Posted by oilman_15106 View Post
Nice pictures and good job. Are there any hills there?
Do What? Hills in Australia? If they do have any- the way they have life sussed- they will all be downhills.
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Old 04-08-08, 12:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Catweazle View Post
I'm well aware that my only real 'achievement' to date has been to develop the ability to stay in the saddle for 5 hours or more during the day, using the the knowledge I've gleaned from here to keep those pedals spinning around at a reasonable rate and feeling my way into timing the frequent gear changes well enough that they're made before I'm in trouble.
Actually, you have accomplished quite a lot and made an important move into long-distance cycling. A metric is an excellent place to start. When you ride your first double-metric you'll find that nutrition and hydration become more important.

Or maybe you'd want to do a 100 mile ride before the double-metric? Regardless, you'll need to take care of yourself a bit better on the longer rides, but otherwise you should be fine. About "ability to stay in the saddle for 5 hours" it's a good idea to stand on some of the climbs to get your weight off the saddle occasionally.

In any case, after your first double-metric you'll be able to start planning your first double-century (in miles!). We get a good lot of 50+ riders on the double-centuries here in CA. You can check out our doubles at: www.caltriplecrown.com

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Old 04-08-08, 02:02 PM
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Way to go! Good story and pictures too!
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Old 04-08-08, 04:06 PM
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Hills? I could easy enough do the 15km trundle to Maffra from here, and then do this ride:

http://www.bikely.com/maps/bike-path/Maffra-Licola-loop

The loop depicted in that ride doesn't really get any further than the foothills, but there's still plenty of climbing in it. I'm only 200km (crow route) from Australia's highest peak, and there's a helluva lot of rugged country between here and there.

I truly feel blessed to be living here, where this extensive valley meets the Gippsland Lakes system and coastal flats between two ranges. It's in a region which contains some of the best natural beauty Australia has to offer.

Actually, you have accomplished quite a lot and made an important move into long-distance cycling. A metric is an excellent place to start. When you ride your first double-metric you'll find that nutrition and hydration become more important.
Who knows what the future might hold? At this point in time I suppose that I could probably be fairly confident that at some stage I'll end up doing a 'Century' ride, just for the sake of doing it, but to be quite honest I have to admit that I've now reached the point of proving to myself that I can do the riding I want to do. I can't see that the touring around I'm looking forward to taking on will ever really require me to travel much further than 100km in any one day. My next 'goal' is really developing the stamina to travel this sort of distance whilst riding through hillier country and/or over unsealed hard gravel roads and tracks.



I'm really appreciative of the advice, encouragement and praise received from you people here on this forum board. I've 'travelled' around the internet a fair bit in the past few years, whilst earning pocket money writing IT related stuff, and I've no hesitation in stating that this is the friendliest and warmest online group I've ever come across. You should all be proud of that. You deserve to be!

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Old 04-08-08, 07:24 PM
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Congratulations on traveling farther and for enjoying the ride!

Catweazle, every time I open one of your photos, an ad opens in the background. One time it was a rather naughty ad. Has anyone else had these problems? I finally stopped opening them and just look at the thumbnails.
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Old 04-08-08, 07:33 PM
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I checked Truf and for me, nothing else opens, just the picture. I am running a full Norton security package though.
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Old 04-08-08, 08:13 PM
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TruF, the image should only have one advertisement underneath it, which is a rather unobtrusive link provided via AdsMarketNetwork. If you are seeing anything else or getting popups then perhaps you have a misbehaving intruder on your machine. I'm using a default install of Windows Vista here, and I also don't see anything of the sort when using a default install of Windows XP.
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