I'm dead keen on getting the Year-Round Randonneur Award for completing 200km rides in 12 consecutive months. It's good to have a goal - even if it's a mad one. To that end, yesterday I set off on the Riverbank Ramble 200km permanent. A permanant is like a normal audax ride, but you can do it any time. Permanants are recognised for local awards, but are not Brevets de Randonneurs Mondiaux homologated. It's good you should know these things.
The ride is a delightful trip up the Derwent River, to the vicinity of Ouse, then back down. It's pretty low-traffic despite taking in some of the Lyell Highway and features some fun hills - 2000m of climbing in all.
I set off slightly after 7am and cruised over Bonnet Hill before passing through town and heading up the bike path. The 500m climb up to Glenlusk was the first major challenge of the day, but I took it easy, stopping at the top to put on a raincoat to ward off the odd drop of rain. Off once more I passed New Norfolk, opting to stop at the roadhouse at Bushy Park where there is always a warm welcome.
After a 20 minute break it was back on the bike for the delightful section through to Westbury, and then the hills beyond. No major dramas through this section although I was running a little slower than I would have liked - possibly the effect of some harder training rides during the week. Lunch at Hamilton boosted my strength and the hill just outside town provded to be no major challenge.
Downhill at last, although the joy was tempered by a niggling headwind which slowed my efforts to make up some time. By the time I got to New Norfolk again I was starting to flag so I took a break and topped up my energy stores. My lower back was hurting a bit, I suspect because I hadn't been moving around on the bike enough.
The last 50km, though flat, was a bit of a grind. I cruised back to Granton and cheerfully picked up the bike path through Claremont to the city. I took an unscheduled stop to chat to some new Audax riders who'd just finished the Port Arthur 200km and pushed on the the final 15km. Despite feeling a bit ragged by this point, the final ascent of Bonnett Hill didn't prove too problematic, and I arrived back at the car a shade under 12 hours, with a riding time of just over 10 hours for the 207km.
I'm pretty happy with the effort for my first ever solo 200km. Double centuries are generally a bit of a test for me, particularly the hilly ones, but this ride is a delight. I recommend it to anyone.
(Photo taken up near Longford during my failed 300km attempt a couple of weeks back.)
5,265km so far this year.