Not a bad weekend in Hopetoun. The Mallee Routes is a lovely ride and superbly organised by Les Solley. There were about two dozen riders from Melbourne and Adelaide - including one who had ridden from the South Australian capital - tackling distances from 100km to 600km.
It was an unaccustomed cool start at 6am Saturday as we rolled out on the 200km, but it warmed up soon enough. I managed to stay with other riders for much of the day, letting them go when their speed crept up too much. I drank plenty of water, ate enough, took plenty of breaks and kept a steady pace.
Despite all this I wasn't able to back up for Sunday's 200km ride. It wasn't anything specific, just a collection of minor woes: uncharacteristic saddle soreness, painful hands and a sore back were the worst of it, but there was also the nagging feeling that it wouldn't be a good idea to tackle the four-hour drive home in a state of utter exhaustion.
I have some toughening up to do. I have two more 200km rides pencilled in this month ahead of a 300km, 400k and 600km in December. I'm confident of the 300km. The 400km will be a stretch. I can't even imagine a 600km yet.
4,829km so far this year.