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The Kings Men, Ride!
CBD Cycles - 13/02/2014
ed's note. failure to submit a suitable photo will have me resort to finding one.
Early in January, some typical new year enthusiasm was being thrown around on email – “let’s do a massive ride, with plenty of vert!”. Momentum gathered and before we knew it, a cycling weekend in Healesville was booked for the second weekend in February. The route would be the 174k Rapha Gentlemen’s Loop.

However, as the day grew nearer, the forecast grew nastier – 40 degree temperatures, 35k/hr northerly winds, in a “highly fuelled” area. Painfully, but at the advice of the CFA and Parks Victoria, we had to pull the pin, losing $500 that was paid for accommodation. Devastated, all hope of a big weekend seemed lost...but then, three days out from the planned weekend, Random Anth opened the doors to his folk’s love shack in Anglesea and, with Der Kaiser’s blessing (of course!), the cycling weekend was back on!

The juice was well and truly flowing again, with the daily email count topping out at about 100 on the Thursday. The plan was to head down on Friday after work and get it done on the Saturday. One day, 40 degree heat, 200k, taking in parts of the Great Ocean Road and the famed GORC loop. But, like any real adventures, the ambition grew. As we travelled down the highway in The Monk’s family venga bus the ride got longer...“why don’t we do this loop, 215k”, “what about this one, 230k”, until finally it was agreed “let’s do 250k!!!”

Morning of the ride...alarms go off at 5:40am. Whilst partly unwelcome and very non-pro, the early start was greeted by all with the excitement of a kid waking up on Christmas morning, and after a big breakfast (thanks to The Crack), the train rolled out from Anglesea at 6:30am. The loop: Anglesea – Torquay – Lorne – climb up to Benwerrin – Deans Marsh – Forrest – Descend to Skenes Creek – Apollo Bay – then back along the Great Ocean Rd to Anglesea (with some extra k’s to round out the 250!).

The next eight hours of riding are a bit of a blur for everyone, however here are some highlights:
The Fly and The Beaver setting a solid tempo for the day up the first climb to Benwerrin. These two went toe-to-toe all day, taking longer than expected turns on some of the more challenging sections, keeping everyone just on the right side of red. Perfecto!
The Camel riding like a man possessed after almost zero training (and a lot of late nights playing Star Craft in only his jocks) including drilling it for 15k at 45k/hr+ through the blustery flatlands out of Deans Marsh like Jens Voigt
Random Anth mistakenly rolling off the front after only 4k of his mandatory 5k turn, then sprinting back to the front after a torrent of abuse. To his credit, he then continued to drill it for his last 1k for one of the performances of the day!
The Monk, inches away from running over a snake, only for it to dive out of the way at the last second, averting potential disaster for both the snake and the band of merry men
The descent into Skenes Creek, clocking speeds of almost 90k/hr
The feast at Apollo Bay, 155k done, 95k to go. Bacon and eggs, chicken rolls, icy poles, donuts and some killer milk shakes!
The Sherpa’s 15k effort on the front out of Lorne after 200k and into a nasty headwind. The combination of a iced jam donut and coke was all this great athlete needed to keep the pace high, a display of power to be remembered for all those fortunate / unfortunate enough to be on his wheeeeoh
The Crack overcooking a corner on a fast descent, getting some cyclo-cross action happening and somehow keeping it upright through the scrub (despite a very poor history of being able to do just that)
Everyone working together to keep the pace high all day (delivering an average speed of 33k/hr) and the last descent into Anglesea, to make up the final 10k needed to reach our goal of 250k. Completely cooked, but feeling bloody stoked to have completed the ride as a team. Bravo!

Last but not least, a big thank you to CBD Cycles for their great help in ensuring that the whole crew had the necessary nutrition (Shotz tablets were very popular, particularly as the ride wore on!) and that our bikes ran smoothly. Seven riders x 250k each for a combined total of 1,750k (the equivalent of Melbourne to Sydney and back) and not one muscle cramp, flat tyre, loose bolt or mechanical all day. Legends!!!

The Monk

The King’s Men