Sunday, 3 October 2010

Ulverstone 95km ride.

What a weekend, even with the five am start on Saturday.

I had set myself the goal of riding the Codas Ulverstone 95km charity ride on October 3, about 6 weeks ago, but I just hadn't managed to get the time in the saddle to be confident that I could ride 95km (including 680m in altitude gain) at the required minimum average speed of 20km/hr.

My solution therefore was to ride the course the day before and see how I went. What a day it was, the route is magnificent and worth cycling jsut for the fun of it.  Starting out from Ulverstone, you travel out along the scenic and well pedaled coastal route to Penguin about 11kms away.  I passed several large groups of riders out for their morning training ride.  At Penguin, the route turns inland onto South Street (first bit of a climb which would have quickly seperated me from the pack if I'd been doing the group ride), but before I knew it I was over the highway and heading back towards Ulverstone along a beautiful little bit of road.   Seriously, if you want a quick picture of the North coast this is a great little circuit.
25kms and an hour and a bit after I had left Ulverstone, I found myself back in the outskirts of the town, before turning right towards Gawler and Gunns Plains.  The next 30 or 40kms were through some magnificent farming country, it was a bright sunny day, the grass was green, lots of paddocks freshly turned over and there was even snow on the peaks in the distance.  The road has a decent climb in it on the way to North Motton, but nothing that will tax you, adn then after North Motton and another moderate climb, it's a fast and furious descent down to a river which you then basically follow to Gunns Plains.  It feels like the land that time forgot through here.

Turning left at the Gunns Plain shop, I found myself (at the time blissfully ignorant) of a long, gentle climb switchbacking back the way I came on the way up to Preston Falls and beyond.  Whilst it is a long way up, the scenery just gets better and better and the gradient is easy.  Past Preston Falls you rejoin Prestons Road, and turning right, continue an undulating climb up towards the snow covered peaks in the distance.

Before I knew it, I'd knocked off the best part of 60kms and I was up about as far as I was going to go with a sign in front of me telling me it was 31kms back to Ulverstone.  At this point I took a peek at my speedo to find I'd managed an average speed of 18.9km/hr, andsuddnely I was thinknig that maybe I could get somewhere near 20km/hr if there weren't too many more climbs between me and the finish line.  I decided I had to try it.

After a brief downhill section, the road unfortunately turned back up again, but I was up out of the saddle and fought it up the hill, and was rewarded after just a kilometre or so with another downhill section.  In fact the next 30kms were all a bit of a blur, the heart rate was high, there were plenty of downhills and flats, and all the up hill sections were short and managable.

By the time I was in Sprent, the average speedo was almost up to 20km/hr, and I was starting to think this was possible,.  You couldn't wipe the smile off my face as I charged into Ulverstone with an average speed for the circuit of 21.4km/hr.

As I say, this is an awesome circuit, well worth the day trip.

Check out the route on Bikely.

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