Park Bikes Training Camp Day One : Sydney to Bowral via Macquarie Pass

As you probably know, I’ve been whinging about my lack of riding recently. Injuries, life and general lack of Rule Five adherence have meant Summer 2014/15 has been poor. Poor to the point that my tan lines haven’t even arrived. In December.

So to get things kickstarted, I signed up for a little training camp run by our friends over at Park Bikes and Domestique.

The plan:

Day one, ride Sydney to Bowral via Macquarie Pass.

Day two, ride Bowral to Kangaroo Valley and return, with potential for extra distance if wanted

Day three, two home options, one all the way via Razorback, one with a train component

Lovely.

And so I rolled up at the appointed meeting spot, met the crowd and we got going.

First day was basically the familiar Waterfall ride that many Sydney Clubs ride on the weekend, then through the Royal National Park to Stanwell Tops, dropping down to Wollongong via the famed Sea Cliff Bridge to Wollongong – so in essence the route of the annual Sydney to the Gong ride – with a variation through Wollongong, then up  Macquarie Pass to Bowral in the Southern Highlands.

The early riding was puncture-strewn but fun, with a few hairy traffic moments and some diffeences in route selection between the two groups down to Wollongong, and soon we were at the foot of the climb of the day – Macquarie Pass. With around 100km in the legs, this isn’t one for the faint-of-heart, but everyone coped admirably, and with two support cars running with the groups, we were amply supplied and supported. For my part, the tactic was simple. Start out steady, gradually ramp up the watts. Don’t follow anyone else, ride to your own numbers. And so it came to pass that I was overtaken by a few enthusiastic spinners who I gradually pulled back over the rest of the climb, simply by sitting slightly about my FTP and keeping my cadence high. I picked 300 watts as a good target number, stuck with it and ground out the climb in a fairly respectable – though not A-Grade – time, and soon we were at the Robertson Pie Shop, and ready for the last undulating roads to Bowral.

This is where it got hard, believe it or not. Everyone had given Macquarie pass a lot of stick. There were cramps, histrionics and epics all round, and a few stops for mechanicals. The climbs through Kangaloon claimed their fair share of scalps, and we were all glad to roll into Bowral just before the thunderstorms really kicked off.

Then, to the bar and start fuelling up for tomorrow: Kangaroo Valley

(part two to follow!)

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