400 Wayne Hickman, Nick Mandocki & Perry Raison 5AM start
200 Ed Pley, David Lewis & Aaron Young 5AM start
115 Julie Kenworthy & Brad Woodbrook 6AM start
Conditions for the 200 & 400 starting at 5:00AM from Bayswater Train Station were ideal with a fresh tail wind to Two Rocks (69km) then Regan’s Ford on Brand Hwy (152km) After 2 Rocks I was always bringing up the rear and think I glimpsed either Ed Pley or David Lewis in the distance on Military Rd. At Gin Gin Brook Rd my 400k route diverted from theirs (200k) so I continued alone until I met Nick and Wayne on Brand Hwy as they left Regans Ford Windmill R/H. There was a longish section of Dirt/Gravel on Orange Springs Rd before Brand Hwy, none of it too challenging, it appears that soon the road will be sealed. The Windmill Roadhouse offered some excellent carrot cake and some very average banana bread which at least set me up for the next 70k leg to New Norcia.
The ride up Mogumber Rd West took me away from the boring coastal sections of first 150k and from here the scenery improves on a quality sealed road with little traffic. From Mogumber on the Yarawindah Rd over to Great N Hwy the scenery improves again before a short section (<5km) on the Gt N Hwy. At New Norcia I was 5 minutes ahead of my estimated 2:30PM arrival time and was greeted by Wayne with something about ‘he was expecting me to come past them on the hills’ then on their departure ‘you’ll catch up with us’. I knew that neither of these would eventuate so offered no comment. After attempting to charge my phone from my small Garmin battery pack the result was that the item was left in a bin at New Norcia having been destroyed, apparently during the recharging session before the ride.
Having checked in with Helen my wife I turned the phone off to save charge and commenced the 90km ride to Toodyay with a predominant headwind. The last 62km on Bindi Bindi – Toodyay Rd was a very tough slog given the rough road surface, headwind and warm afternoon. So much so that near Bejoording a bit more than 20k out from Toodyay I felt that my legs just couldn’t keep going. A short stop for some sugar, a sunglass change and taillight on, I was feeling a bit better and made it into Toodyay just after sunset. Here after a brief chat with Nick who was about to leave Toodyay with Wayne, I sought out food at the pizza shop near the IGA supermarket. I ate an entire box of freshly cooked potato chips downed by a cold diet coke and followed up with a free coffee kindly provided by the proprietor who wished me well enroute on the 60km leg to the Muchea BP 24hr roadhouse. After filling my 3L hydration bladder and adding Aqualyte supplement, I changed my clothing to include a merino thermal top with arm warmers placed around wrists for convenient quick dressing whilst riding. Also the mesh hi-vis vest made way for a solid vest with zip mostly open.
The 1 hour break and potato fueled energy boost transformed my riding and enjoyment along Julimar Rd. The biggest climb up from the river seemed small when compared to my many attempts over the last decade or so. Always on the lookout for roos but none spotted only heard, I was soon descending the scarp to Chittering Rd where the temperature dropped enough to appreciate my thermal wear. I stopped for a quick bite to eat with about 20km to Muchea and proceeded as fast as possible towards the prospect of a warm roadhouse and the opportunity to supplement my caffeine levels.
At the 24hr roadhouse I scoffed down the usual cold coffee and a fresh sandwich before complementing my thermal outfit with knee warmers and scull cap. These I was thankful for on the 45km leg to Bayswater riding into a cold southerly wind. Arriving at just after 2AM I was glad it was but a short 2.5km ride home with triumphant thoughts of having completed my 1st 400 since 9/12/18.