7P7D Day 1 - Sunday 24 November.
It's Seven Peaks in Seven Days time again.
The cast for 2013 comprises:
- Josh, 29, too young and fit for his own good;
- Adrian, 34, been worried about this for months so has put the Ks in, just to make sure;
- Daniel, Adrian's brother, support car driver; and
- me, wrong side of 50, been off the bike with manflu for a few weeks but motivated by riding a brand new Roubaix!
The highlight of day 1 for me was making it through unscathed. If you've followed the exploits of those of us silly enough to attempt this week, you might remember I 'dropped the bike' just near Tanjil Bren last year in the hail and pouring rain. I kept going for a bit but had to get off the bike before the top of the climb to Powelltown. Soft. And disappointing.
Today? No problem. Still wet all day; it even seemed to rain more during the descents; but at least I stayed upright. And I finished.
A bit weary now but the 'parma' here at the Reefton Hotel (at McMahon's Creek) went down a treat - 3 & a half stars (had to explain to the lady behind the bar what a Black 'n' Tan was - so they lost half a star!)
Quote of the day is from Adrian: "You know, I wouldn't mind if it rained all week!"
The bloke's obviously mad!
Josh's highlight: being able to at least get 4 gears… his rear shifter shat itself first thing this morning. At least he got the four lowest gears so he could get up Baw Baw!
Lake Mountain through to Jamieson tomorrow. There's talk we might continue through to Mansfield but my legs currently consider that unlikely.
7P7D Day 2 - Monday 25 November.
Today was about balance.
In the morning I found it difficult to keep my concentration; a bit tired I guess. I probably didn't have enough breakfast; once we got to Lake Mountain and found the cafe is open again, I wolfed down a couple of big cookies and felt much better.
The road between McMahon's Creek and Cumberland Junction is really spectacular! After climbing for about 5km or so, the road comes out onto a small spur with spectacular views off into the distance on both sides. I should really have stopped and taken a photo. But I was climbing really poorly; and the road was descending a little and I decided I needed momentum over a momento.
The balance was about concentration. Being tired, I couldn't concentrate for long enough to keep my climbing 'form' and use my lower back muscles properly. When I got tired, I'd resort to grinding on the pedals and I could feel my back getting sore.
Highlight for me was riding some of the way up Lake Mountain with Cheryl and Tracy from Albury, two SHCCC regulars, who were both wearing their 2010 SHCCC jerseys. The descent down to Marysville was great fun (the new bike descends better than the old one!) and we decided to continue onto Buxton for lunch, where we caught up with Adrian's Dad, Wal, who's joining us for the rest of the week. Lunch was just ok so next year we might go further on to Taggerty!
Strangely, the longer the day went on, the better my 'balancing act' got and I finished off much better than I expected; especially since I've had a few weeks off the bike. After climbing up to Bald Hill Gap and then a fun descent to Jamieson, we decided to try to push on to Mansfield. The strong southerly helped a bit with that decision.
10km from town Josh decided he needed to get home in a hurry.
Quote of the day: "Excuse me boys, this train is heading for Mansfield!"
All Adrian and I could do was hang on for dear life as Josh dragged us into Mansfield at about 49km/h! No chance for any balance; just hanging on with gritted teeth.
Great end to an epic day of just over 200km. Tomorrow, some tinkering with Josh's shifter, then Buller and Whitfield. (And there's a rumour that last year's 7P7D finisher, Tim Ross, might join us…)
If you're interested, here is today's Strava file.
7P7D Day 3 - Tuesday 26 November.
Josh's rear shifter shat itself early on Day 1 and a liberal spraying of WD40 didn't seem to fix it.
So Day 3 started with a mechanical transplant… my old 10-speed Dura-Ace shifter was installed instead of his newer Ultegra model. It now looks a bit weird but it works!
After a big day yesterday, we all agreed we'd have a later start but the mechanical needed a visit to All Terrain Cycles for more cables and the late start got even later. And on a warm day, it probably wasn't the best way to begin.
Adrian made a salient point on the way out of Mansfield - he suggested today would be the turning point… today would settle us into the 7P7D 'rhythm' if you like.
The rumour mill was correct and we were joined by last year's 7P7D supremo, Tim Ross. And I thank my lucky stars he came along! I climbed like a brick and I reckon the only reason I got up Mt Buller was Tim's company and well-timed conversation; Josh and Adrian were miles up the road!
Adrian discussed his 'turning point' theory with Tim over lunch and it seems Tim felt exactly the same when he got to Whitfield last year.
Chris W and Tony H drove up from Mansfield to join us for lunch at the Apres Bar. But neither looked likely to jump on a bike to join us. (You blokes know which Rule you need to meditate on, don't you!)
Another great descent - I love my Roubaix - and we finally rolled back into Mansfield just after 4pm… with over 60km to go to Whitfield!
Bakks and Rob G joined us for the first 20km (thanks for the tow lads!) and we eventually rolled into Whitfield just after 7.30.
Huge kudos to Wally and Daniel for dinner. Nowhere in Whitfield was going to be open for dinner, so they contacted Cathy at the Cheshunt Store. She was already closed but agreed to stick around until Wal got there to buy a feast of steak and pasta for dinner. What a brilliant support crew! Thanks guys. Strava details.
7P7D Day 4 - Wednesday 27 November.
I like the 'hardness' of cycling.
Rule number 5 (http://www.velominati.com/the-rules/) has entered the vernacular; and I repeat it with annoying regularity. My favourite pro races are the Spring Classics, not the Grand Tours. And deep down I still like to think of myself as a mountain biker at heart. But I learnt a lesson in being hard today.
Today's ride was a relatively flat start from Whitfield. It was meant to be easy but after only 'up' or 'down' this week, I found the flat of the King River valley a challenge. My bum hurt, my legs were sore, my shoulders and neck were killing me… and did I mention how much my bum hurt?
As we swapped turns nearing Oxley, I found the going tough. I slowed to flex my shoulders and neck and… BANG! Adrian hit the deck. On his face! I'd slowed too much, he'd been close behind and we touched wheels. We got off the road and inspected the damage: a very bloodied mouth, skin off elbows and knees; and a few scratches and bend rear derailleur hanger on the Colnago too.
He was swept up into the SHCCC Captiva and Daniel had him off to Wangaratta Hospital in no time.
To his credit, Adrian was keen to meet us in Myrtleford or Porepunkah and join us for the Buffalo climb. Yeah, right Adrian!
Josh and I continued, with Wally in the Merc for company, onto Milawa for coffee (Bombolini! Doughnuts filled with Nutella… YUM!) and Myrtleford for lunch. (Made a big mistake here; should have gone to the Butter Factory. D'oh!)
Meanwhile, Adrian waited as a low-priority patient at hospital. In contrast, his Colnago received high-priority treatment at West End Cycles - thanks Wes!
Josh and I continued on towards Buffalo; 2km turns each; keep the rhythm; cadence too low, shift down; how hot is it now; when will this 2km end?
Just before Porepunkah, I got a call from Adrian. He'd had his lip stitched and was getting into the car now. And he'd asked Daniel to drive him BACK TO THE SPOT WHERE HE CRASHED SO HE COULD COMPLETE THE WHOLE DAY!!!!
I couldn't even contemplate that! After a crash like that, if someone had suggested I go back again it would've had me sobbing like… a 50 year old redhead who isn't happy with the texture of the foam on his skinny latte! Hard.
Josh and I continued on and only just made the Dingo Dell cafe before it closed, so we could get our passports stamped. (4 down!) To his great credit, the bloke organised to stamp Adrian's too!
We got back to Bright just after 6 (but then had to wait over an hour to get the key to the house we rented… grrr!) had a shower and organised dinner.
Adrian rolled in at 10 to 9… his dad Wally lighting the way with his car headlights. Inspirational and bloody impressive. Chapeau!