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First century (long post, and a bit of a rant)

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

First century (long post, and a bit of a rant)

Old 07-20-09, 12:58 AM
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RagingJim
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First century (long post, and a bit of a rant)

This was so far the hardest ride I have ever done. I have only been riding for about 6 weeks or so now, and have been riding with the same two mates the whole time. Our goal is to ride the stage 4 of the Tour Down Under when it comes to South Australia next year.

This was an impromptu ride, with no prior planning. My mate (Sarah) rang me at 8 in the morning and suggested my gf (Sonia) and I ride from her place to the Barossa Valley. Arrived at her place, and was ready to go by about 10 am. Sarah chatted for another hour, and we did not leave until 11 (it is at this stage that I should mention I had to be back at Sarah's place by 4 as I had to work that night).

Sonia is not the strongest rider, and in fact over about 50 km I am probably the strongest of the group. Until this day, I had never ridden more than that and so was soon to be (un)pleasantly surprised at how the last 50 km can really kill me.

We headed off, and was enjoying the ride, sitting on about 25-30 km/hr. After around 30 kms we stopped in for coffee/snacks at Munno Para and were there for about half an hour. By this stage I was getting a bit antsy due to my time constraints. I told her we had to hurry, and she was like "don't worry about it, we'll be fine!"

By the time we left Munno Para it was about 1.15ish (we had slowed down on Main North Road as there were a lot of trucks that seemed intent on running us over, so Sonia and I pulled over onto the dirt shoulder, which made for some difficult riding).

We kept going for a while and by about 1.40 it was obvious to me that we needed to turn around cos Sonia was starting to struggle, and we had only just made it passed Gawler. Over the passed 10 km or so Sarah had decided that we were obviously too slow for her, and she rode off ahead - annoying since neither Sonia nor I knew where we were going. I raced ahead and caught up to Sarah and suggested that we needed to turn around, and she said there was a town up ahead (which I would later find out to be Lyndoch), and we would be there in about 10 minutes. From there it was supposed to be all DONWHILL home. (check the ride that I posted at the end, and you tell me whether there was more uphill or downhill)

Half an hour later, no town, and no Sarah. I stopped and rang her, and she told us to hurry up, and we would be there soon. By this stage I was fuming. It was 2.15 and we had 50 km left to go home and 1 hour and 45 minutes to do it in, and as I said Sonia was now really struggling.

We caught up to Sarah in Lyndoch, and she told us that we would turn down a road, and it would be downhill all the way home. It would take just over an hour or so. "Trust me" she says. Fine, I am a junior cyclist, who am I to argue with a more senior one who obviously knows where she is going.

She showed us the road to turn down, and off she went, leaving me to stay with Sonia, and leaving us in her wake. I had dropped my bike in disgust in Lyndoch, and I found out the next day that I had bumped the brakes and they rubbed on the tires for the next 50 km without me being aware of it (no wonder I was so knackered by the end of it).

It had been over an hour since we last saw Sarah, Sonia and I were completely lost and had to ask a passing motorist for directions. We finally found Sarah, and I kind of cracked it at her. I mean, we are meant to all be friends, she is the most senior cyclist, and obviously the stronger one. I would have thought that if nothing else it would have just been courteous to stay with us and help us out right?

Apparently not. She went off at me, saying things like it is not my fault we can't keep up. And she knows she could make it home on time, so if we can't keep up that is our bad luck. She was in her zone, and if we cannot keep up, we shouldn't ride with her. That was the last we saw of her until we got back to her place. We had to keep asking people for directions. I was seriously pissed off at her! Do I have the right to be? She seems to think Sonia and I are in the wrong, and that she had every right to act the way she did.

Anyway, Sonia and I struggled the last 30 odd km back to her place and left without saying a word to her.

This is out ride:
https://www.mapmyride.com/route/au/pa...24807153550686

Sorry for the long rant and post, but this seriously pissed me off!
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Old 07-20-09, 01:14 AM
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iareConfusE
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Why would you plan (or rather, impulse) a century all in one day, knowing you had to be at work at a certain time later that day?...
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Old 07-20-09, 01:17 AM
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*shrugs* as previously mentioned a) I am an inexperienced rider with no idea how long or hard it was going to be. But I figured if we left when we got there (at 10), we would have 6 hours to ride. And even riding slowly that would give us plenty of time. And the plan was always to go as far as I could until I wanted to go home, then we could turn around. That was what Sarah told us, not just wishful thinking. It just turned out that she ignored me when I asked her. And then blamed me for it later.
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Old 07-20-09, 01:24 AM
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Originally Posted by iareConfusE View Post
Why would you plan (or rather, impulse) a century all in one day, knowing you had to be at work at a certain time later that day?...

+1

And ... why would you ride without some sort of map?

BTW - for future reference ... 6 hours for a century (162 km) is a pretty brisk century, especially for someone who has never ridden more than 50 km in their lives before, and even for many of those who have. 6 hours is a nice time allotment for a metric century (100 km), especially for someone who has never ridden more than 50 km in their lives before, and even for many of those who have.

And I doubt you were knackered because of the brake rubbing. Brakes rubbing do make some difference but not a whole lot, especially if you're riding slowly anyway. You probably didn't eat and drink enough because you felt rushed.

So ... did you actually ride 162 km? And did you make it back in time for work? And how did Sonia feel when she finished?

Last edited by Machka; 07-20-09 at 01:31 AM.
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Old 07-20-09, 01:29 AM
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This Sarah character sounds like a real jerk, what's the point of taking less experienced riders for a ride then dropping them? Even though it would have been better if you'd planned ahead, I think it's reasonable to expect her to guide and support you and your gf.
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Old 07-20-09, 03:34 AM
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I'm with you. A stronger rider should not just leave the rest behind, unless that's the agreement. Esp not knowing directions.

The world does not revolve around "the mile"... Everything he says was in km - so why should he mean a non-metric century? He even posted his ride - 66 mi... 106km

But Jim, good on you for doing it. Sorry you had a bad experience, don't let that deter you.
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Old 07-20-09, 03:52 AM
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please plan for at least 20km/h, especially if you've just begun and are not riding with a group.
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Old 07-20-09, 04:18 AM
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For the record, the ride was bloody awesome. I had an absolute blast. It was hard work, but that is one of the reasons I have come to love cycling.

No I did not make it back in time for work, but my boss just laughed it off and told me not to worry about it. Sonia was pretty knackered, but enjoyed the ride as well.

And yes, I have now learnt an important lesson the hard way. Next time I go for a long ride, I will be far better prepared. But hey, what doesn't kill you only makes you stronger right?

As an aside, I went for another 80km ride today, at an average speed of 23.2 km/hr (bit slower than I would have wanted, but not too bad). Was awesome. I just rode to my dad's place and back. To his place is all downhill, but there was a 20km/hr headwind (I did not realise how much of an impact wind has). Despite the fact that the return trip was all uphill, I did the journey home 30 minutes faster than I did it going to dad's.

Also, I ride an Avanti Explorer Hybrid mtb, and it is killing me. Cannot wait to upgrade to a real bike!
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Old 07-20-09, 08:13 AM
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Advice for your ride: plan more time (about 8 hours) for a century. Rest stops, mechanical issues, terrain, all factor in to your total time.

Advice on your relationship issues: you've come to the wrong place. Talk to this guy:

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Old 07-20-09, 08:39 AM
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Sounds like you needed to talk to Sarah about your expectations, as well as your time constraints.

Whether it was poor form for Sarah to drop the two of you depends on what the understanding was to start.
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Old 07-20-09, 08:39 AM
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Nothing wrong with impulsively long rides, but a century does require some planning. Leaving at 11 am and having to be at work by 4 means that you will be running with the steam on full for most of the ride with very short stops for fluids. Don't let this experience hinder you from doing other long rides with your friends. Just leave out early, plan the ride and have a bail out option.
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