With just under a month from the winter solstice (or the Longest Day in the northern hemisphere), we weren’t waiting. It was time to take a Friday off and ride all day with the target of 200kms in mind. Josh's planned route was a loop to Ettalong, and while slightly short of 200kms (an imperial century - 100m / 160kms) it was set to bring new scenery and freedom by bike with mates. Ettalong was a new route and the first Longest Day for several Velo riders today.
The Longest Day is about no watch nor schedule. But today required an early start and keeping time to get to the 11am ferry (from Ettalong to Palm Beach). Frankie was missing some sleep at the earlier than normal start, but he was full of beans.
The forecast was for winds at 40kmph. But this wasn’t going to stop a day off work to ride. There wasn’t a breath of wind for the ride north, and not a car after Hornsby. Simply perfect riding conditions.
Riding north through Berowra and onto Brooklyn on the weekend often brings motorists and motorcycles enjoying the same roads as us. The beauty of Friday when others are at work, was that we enjoyed the descent into Brooklyn without one machine passing us.
Carlos’ red dancing shoes were no match for Julia’s speed, as she took to the descent tucked in like a rocket. Julia arrived at coffee at the Estuary Cafe and took off her helmet revealing a smile ear to ear ‘I love it’ (descending). What a great feeling.
A short break for coffee, a bit of banter, and accolades awarded to the Estuary Cafe sausage roll (with real meat!). Discussions ensued of where best sausage rolls can be found.
It wasn’t Julia booked by police on the descent but it was the motorbike that passed us at speed - he rode away $300 lighter. There was something ironic about the only motorbike we saw being booked by the only police car we saw.
We finally found the wind. As we turned towards the Central Coast, the 40kmph headwind made it’s presence felt. It slowed us down as we made a race to the ferry. Rush! Let’s get someone to the ferry and get our group on before we risk a 1.20hr wait for the next one. It was worth the push, but hurt...and to no end - there was no ferry anywhere at Ettalong. The winds and swell meant the ferry wasn’t even running and was detoured to Patonga.
Now the climb into Patonga, and the risk of the climb out of Patonga (should the ferry not actually be there either) was probably going to push our bunch a bit too far. So it was time for lunch and a new plan.
No connecting ferry. A ride back? A train back? A train to where? We decided on a short train back to Hornsby to replace the ferry highlight, and a detour to Bobbin Head on our plan. The route from Palm Beach to Sydney in the winds would have been tough overall, so the alternative was a good outcome in the end.
Next stop MC for beers and stories to wrap up. But wait...Carlos is missing. Carlos was intent on completing his 200kms. And that was contagious - Dan rode from and back today, also to ensure he lived up to the Longest Day target of 200kms. Bravo!
But accolades today go to Julia, Jen, and Laura, who rode their longest ride ever - exceeding 100miles. It was only a fortnight ago that each of them achieved their previous longest ride of 100kms, riding with MC Velo. There were certainly moments for each, but the sense of achievement was immense, overcoming many reasons to cut the ride short. In fact, Laura had planned to only ride ~100kms but felt good enough to complete the distance. We love to see mental and physical achievements like this on MC Velo's Longest Day!
Unfinished business. The Ettalong loop is back on the list.
- 15 riders
- 1 tube