Five of us, Guido (RO), Perry, Rob, Ed and I, turned up for the ride which had us venturing into the empty varseness of the wheatbelt east of York.
Four riders completed the 200km loop with me riding the late added 150km loop. This route had me following, at an increasing distance, the others for the first 50km at which point they when ahead to Tammin and I turned south to Quairading before returning to York.
Another long drive from home to the start point (90 minutes or so) which had good parking and toilets. The town though was pretty deserted and closed up at 7am. I have ridden very little in the wheatbelt and certainly not east of York which is why I wanted to do this ride. The cold was expected, minus 3.8 degrees Guido informed me as he pedaled past and off into the dawn. By early afternoon it had warmed up and I realised that I had under-estimated how much storage I needed to pack away my many layers. Will need a re-think/reduce my layering for next time.
One of the riders at the start described the route as being flat but there were plenty of modest undulations and I soon dropped behind the others with my slow pace when heading upwards. The wind, which picked up a couple of hours into the ride, slowed me down further before I turned off heading south to Quairading. While scenic, it was mainly endless fields, some unplanted and yellow but many others very green expanses with grain crops growing.
The Cunderdin-Quairading Rd is a beauty – wide, well surfaced, light traffic on a Sunday and the now almost tail wind saw the next 25km fly by. The edge of Quairading where the toilets and garage are located, was very busy. 80km done at this stage. This was the only re-supply point on the 150km route. Water, toilet, re-arranged gear to fit my too many layers into my seat pack and pockets. Quite a bit of traffic was heading towards York as I resumed my pedaling.
The wind shouldn’t have been a head wind but it sure felt like I was pushing into one most of the way back. I was wondering how the 200km guys were traveling. Sections of this road had been upgraded and was great with a good shoulder to ride on. Other long bits not so wide but felt safe enough as caravans etc went past. I did have the choice of turning off the York – Quairading Rd and following the 200km route back to York but I stuck with the original route hoping for less of a headwind. I found the next 50km tough due to the wind before it ease off. Later checking BOM data, it was up to 35km/hr and should have been a mostly cross-wind. Didn’t feel like it. Note to self: need to ride more in windy conditions; you’re a wuss!
The start/finish point in York, a local park, had some event happening; people and cars were everywhere when I got back. I was very glad to finish and also to see the township thriving. It was a good decision to ask for a shorter option to be added. I have ridden 200km rides before but 150km that day was enough. A few lessons learnt for next time. Chapeau! to the 200km riders that day.
Thanks to Guido for RO duties and again to Nick for adding a shorter route.