It’s been a while since our last Longest Day. Deferred by CV19 and the incessant rain in Sydney, it was time.
The Longest Day is about all day - no time pressure. No clock watching (except for lunch bookings). A target of 200km (or these days anything more than 160km) that brings freedom for the mind. Nothing but country air, new scenes, and all day with like-minded cyclists.
This longest route would take us to Wollongong (“The Place to Ride” as the sign says just past Waterfall). The plan is to ride to Wollongong, ride the UCI World Road Champs course, brunch, and then to ride home. Options for those who wanted to meet us there or catch the train home.
The UCI World Road Champs will be held in Wollongong in September 2022. This was our chance to ride the course before the pros do in September. When watching the World Champs in September, having had the opportunity to ride the course, the race will come alive by knowing its lumps, challenges, and fast sections, by knowing exactly what riders are experiencing.
After an early coffee at the Clubhouse, we were off. Numbers down a little today for the Longest Day after normal scheduling - we had already moved this ride once due to rain in the last few weeks!
But today, weather was perfect. Cold to start but the promise of warm Spring-like sunshine. Dress with few layers and summer kit was the suggestion - this advice turned out to be a hardcore by a couple of layers.
A ride to Wollongong is about 180km return, which means some extra warm-up kilometres were in order to ensure we clocked 200km.
The World’s Course involves a start in Helensburgh, through the South Coast hamlets, a climb of Mt Kirra, and then a city circuit. After all the coastal rain, the Kirra climb is currently closed due to a landslide and ongoing repairs. Hopefully they complete that in a month’s time! We re-planned for the city loop only.
We arrived at Diggies North Wollongong to check on our booking and with one look at the line, we were pleased we made one. We set off for a photo at the lighthouse and the quick city loop, but we cut short to make it back to our brunch booking - nothing gets in the way of brunch/lunch on the Longest Day!
The standout menu item was the Sweet Baby Carlos (the “Hangover Roll”), but thoughts of Bald Hill on the return trip cautioned riders to find another option. Dreaming of relaxing on the train home, Frankie did enjoy the Sweet Baby with a big smile.
Time to get back. We were now six. 8 riders took the journey. 2 took the return train, and 6 took on the return journey.
28kmph from Wollongong home to MC Clubhouse tells you about the ride home.
A fast ride back through the South Coast hamlets gave us good time to Bald Hill. The climb to Helensburgh from Bald Hill then felt like a flat section, but everyone deserved a Frosty Fruit refresher by the time we pulled in at the servo at Helensburgh.
And then it was pretty much non-stop home. A brief stop at Sutherland, where saving our riders and bikes from an over zealous car squeezing through obstacles was the highlight.
Good time back to MC Clubhouse by 15:39 for some IPA and salty chips.
- 8 riders
- 1,447 km
- 0 tubes
- 2 doses of Coke before 10:00