Yesterday, I took part in the BUPA Challenge Tour ride, part of the 2015 Tour Down Under. I rode with my Dad and Philip – all as part of the Mud, Sweat and Gears bike club. We followed the same route that the professionals would take later in the day. Apparently around 6,500 cyclist took part – some like us doing the full distance, others choosing to do shorter distances by starting at a number of locations along the route.
The official route started at Glenelg, but to save riding down to Glenelg and then back the same way, we started from the bottom of the Southern Expressway. We then headed south down the Expressway (a route not unfamiliar as the veloway parallels this) and then through Old Noarlunga, back onto Main South Road then past Aldinga to Sellicks Hill.
Sellicks Hill was designated as the “King of the Mountain” section for the professionals, but it really was just a gentle incline.
Further along, after nearing Myponga, we veered off back towards Mt Compass. Just before Mt Compass it was great to have my in-laws Rick & Margaret cheering us on (they’re a regular fixture every year to see us during the ride and at the finish line). Passing through Mt Compass, we travelled a few kms before stopping for food and refreshments at Nangkita.
Back on the bikes, through Ashbourne, Strathalbyn, Macclesfield and then another drink stop at Meadows. No time to stop at the bakery unfortunately!
The final leg through Echunga and finishing at Mt Barker
Here’s a summary of my ride captured by the Endomondo app on my phone. (Note that the distance/time includes travelling from my home, but I’ve edited out that part from the map).
We rode a total of 152km and took 7 hours, 4 minutes (including rest stops).
As you can see, we don’t set a blistering pace - 20km/h is about our average. Those sharp dips on the bottom graph’s green line correspond to our rest stops. The grey line on that graph shows the elevation.
I think this year I had one of my better preparations for the ride. I’d been able to get in some regular rides to work and got out most Saturday mornings in the last few months. Whilst glad to finish, I felt in reasonable shape at the end. The weather certainly helped – it was very mild for most of the morning, and we even had a bit of drizzle as we passed through Sellicks Hill. It was only in the last hour and a bit that the clouds parted and the sun made itself felt.
The tour organisers did a great job. Lots of drink stops and well provisioned food stops. No complaints there.
Here’s my Dad and I after the race – please ignore the helmet hair! It was a good day and a great ride.
Photo credits – My sister Fiona for the two photos of me and my Dad