It was touch & go whether I was actually going to enter this ride after my crazy attempt to go Mountain Biking on the Wed night before this ride when the storm was coming through Melbourne. With my left leg injured and bruised, I couldn’t let Rohan down by letting him go by himself. So off we went. We left Sat late arvo for his Rohan’s sisters place in Strathbogie. It was 3:45am Sunday Morning when we woke to have breaky as it was a 1hr drive from her place to Glenrowan, where the start of the Classic was. What we entered was the Ned Kelly Challenge. It was 210km ride which Followed in the footsteps of the legendary Kelly Gang. We arrived at 5:35 to checkin and we set off at 6am. It was a beautiful start to the morning. A total of 13 riders in our 210km group ride. Let’s see what happens shall we!
Nick and Rohan
Off we went heading toward the Warby Ranges, down the Glenrowan-Boweya Hwy. Once we started to hit the climbs the group was split, it was Rohan, Myself & two others ahead of us. It was only a avg of 6% incline with a max of 9% so it wasn’t really tuff by anyone’s standards. What goes up must come down, isn’t that true….. We can let these blokes get to ahead of us. We had them in our sights. With one other person who caught up to us down the descent. Beautiful Sights to see that’s for sure, I’ve never been up this area before. We reached our 1st Checkpoint at St John’s where we caught up the 2 leaders. Doesn’t this sound like a Race, it’s not, but this is how a Male ego works. After we get our tickets signed and fill up our liquids, were off again.
Heading towards Wangaratta, we catch up with the 2 in front of us and share the front with good speed. Sitting on the front, cruising at approx 47kmh chasing down the kilometers. As time went by we let these guys go as Rohan & myself decided to back off as it was too early to start hitting the strides. We’ll get them later. Anyway back into Glenrowan past the start/finish line and heading towards Winton. Soon Later we get those 2 blokes sitting behind us, They must have taken a break at Glenrowan. As they say Slow & Steady wins the Race, well Rohan & I weren’t going slow by any means,. But by this time we had already covered approx 60-70km in just over 2hrs. Our next stop was the at Tatong for lunch but we still had 50km to go. We ended up catching up to a local on his Sunday ride and decided to have a chat with us. We arrive at our 2nd Checkpoint at Tatong for Lunch. After about half hr, we left the lunch stop and by now it is starting to heat up. We have one of the blokes who was with the leader. After making our turnoff at Molyullah-Tatong Rd we head for our next stop Myrrhee 40km up the Road. I have forgotten to mention the amount of Rolling Hills we have encounted throughout this ride so far. It may not be tough but it sure knows how to drain your energy, up/down/up/down with a few long straights thrown in for good measure. And with the heat starting to rise, it’s getting harder. With Rohan & I swapping turns at the front, we lose the guy behind us, probably too quick for him.
With the open country all around us with magnificent views, it’s hard to concentrate on the job at hand. By now I am starting to overheat and decided to stop on the side of the road and take off my wind vest and my arm warmers. A quick gel and a bit to drink and a rest, we take off into the horizon. We later arrive at our 3rd Checkpoint in Myrrhee. A quick toilet break and refill my bottles twice and a few bickies later, we head off again. Another 50kms to go. By this time, I’m starting to feel tired but still pushing when & where I can with Rohan helping out as well by slip streaming behind him for a little longer to save some energy. With a slight head wind riding down a long straight that looks like it goes for ages we try and keep a good momentum going even with a slight head wind we manage mid to high 30’s. It was good going, I have to thank Rohan for his excellent assistance. This section has been all flat which has been all great. Coming into Moyhu, Rohan has advised that he want a COKE to drink so we start looking for a place to stop and buy something to cool ourselves down. Nothing. We decided to continue straight up the highway instead of turning left on our course to look for a bar or something. We ended up finding a Fuel stop which looked more like a local milk bar store. So Rohan has his COKE and I had my Gatorade. Under the shade we relaxed, with thoughts, Do we have to continue? Anyway we better be going otherwise we’ll never get of the seats. We head back down the road and turn right at Glenrowan-Moyhu Rd back on our course and on our home stretch back to Glenrowan. Just on 30kms to go till the end, so that means another 1hr of riding if we stick it out avg 30+ kmh speeds. This is going to be tough, for me that is. For Rohan, well do I need to say anything,,, He is still flying and eager to finish. With more undulating hills, I’m falling back and Rohan is continuing to surge ahead. I catchup for a little while until we get to a climb that just about uses all my energy and that’s just spinning in granny gear. I actually ashamed in saying it as well. Well its only 10km to go and by this stage I am over it, my left foot is starting to hurt, which I do not know why and Rohan is charging ahead, by this time with all the bends and all I cannot see him. But anyway, I soon overtake another cyclist probably doing the 100km or 150km ride and I get alittle bit of ego boost to pass him well enough so he does not pass me. Male EGO ha! I can almost hear the finish line, I’m coming up the freeway overpass, so I must be close. With the pain in my left foot I continue and with very little energy left I turn left down the main straight and I can see Rohan slowing down to wait for me so we can pass the finish line together. All done & dusted 211kms in 7hr11m. This is my record. My last was 7hr16m on the ATB back many years ago. I crash down onto the grass to rest as my legs are empty. Rohan wants to do it again. I won’t write what I said in reply.
I am please that I completed this event. I wouldn’t have been able to complete it without Rohan. With a Salad Roll in hand and eating like no tomorrow I end this memo. What you say! Nick eating salad, that’s unheard of. Yes it is true I don’t normally eat salads. But in this situation I ate anything that was at hand. I want to thank Andrew for setting up my new ride the BMC Team machine SLR01. It has been proven to be a true long distance racer.
I love it.