Monday, August 4, 2008

300kms and beautiful scenery along the way

Sunday was my very first 'big' ride and I have to say that I truly am an idiot for waiting this long to do anything about getting on 2 wheels!!

The weather was beautiful (although could have been a little bit warmer in the morning!!) so it surely was going to be a good day.

J & I were invited to ride with the Melbourne chapter of the Ulysses Club by a colleague I work with. Fortunately when he sent the invitation he started the email with "by no means am I suggesting you are old enough to join ....". Lucky escape for him!!

We were to meet at the designated area in Lilydale so we went to breakfast first (in Nunawading) and then headed to Lilydale for a 10:00am start. We saw the bikes lined up and can I just say that motorbike riders really do know how to look after their bikes. I felt a little bit embarassed on my little GS500 with bright yellow L plate on the back ...... but I guess they were all in my position at one point in life (albeit many many years ago!!!).

The advice I was given:

1. Go at your own pace
2. Be aware of bikes passing you on your right (it will happen a lot!!!)
3. Have fun

So right on 10:00am the roar of the engines (including the sewing machine sounding engine of Scarlett) permeated through Lilydale and we were off!

The route would be Lilydale - Langwarry (?) where we would stop for a coffee and then from there on to Inverloch.

As first anticipated, we were passed by about 15 bikes with the 60 something year old lady on her Virago and a pink helmet the only one that my bike could pass!! I felt a bit sorry for J as I could see he was dying to open his bike up and keep up with the big boys. But as the good husband he is, he hung about in 'slow' land with me.

Mind you ..... when I say I was slow ..... I very rarely did much under 100kms around the twists and turns and at one point, Scarlett revved her little heart out to sit on about 130km/hr. I couldn't even begin to imagine how quick the boys were going past me but trust me when I say, they were quick!!!

Some of the scenery through the hills into Inverloch was absolutely beautiful and I only wish that I had the confidence to enjoy it rather than concentrate on my turns. There was barely a straight piece of road so I could understand why they chose that route.

They had a rule that the second rider in the pack must stop when the leader tells you to become a 'corner marker' so that the rest of the group knows where to go at a cross roads or intersection. Another bike then stops at the other side of the corner so that you know you have taken the right turn. About 10kms out of Inverloch J mentioned that we were just behind the leader ... uh oh ... that means we had to be the corner markers!! Crap!!!!!! I didn't feel comfortable doing it so a quick check in my mirrors and I couldn't see any bikes. Double crap!!! So I slowed Scarlett and hoped that I would see some bikes soon. Sure enough, about 4 or 5 bikes passed me (again, very quickly) so I knew I would be safe for another few corners at least.

Up ahead I saw John on the side of the road which indicated he was second behind the leader ... gave him a bit of a wave as I went past knowing that he would have to wait for the remainder of the riders. At this stage of the ride, we were probably separated by about 20kms of distance so he was going to be there a while!!! I took the opportunity to try to get some more speed up through the corners ... some I did well on, others I didn't feel comfortable so obviously much more practice needed!! A good excuse to ride in the hills I say.

We finally arrived at Inverloch and waited for everybody to arrive. A quick bite of fish & chips, relax and chat and then it was every man for himself really. You could choose to head home with the group or go home any way you wanted.

I have family in Grantville so we decided to drop in there for a cuppa. We followed about 6 bikes through Wonthaggi & Kilcunda and then let them continue on as we reached the farm.

After about an hour's break there, it was time to head home.

I think we did just over 300kms that day .... I learnt a whole lot about Scarlett and what she can and can't do and also learnt that cornering is a whole lot of fun.

The next big ride will be down to Aireys Inlet in a couple of weeks when we head down for our wedding anniversary (first place we ever had a holiday) so I really hope the weather holds out for us.

That's all for now ... Andy out.


Bernadette & Perry said...

Excellent story! You should be very proud of yourself. Well done in getting out there and having a go.. my Ulysses membership is current, but I'm technically a "Junior" member. The corner marking system is a good one, and some of the sports bike riders in other clubs will often see it as a challenge to be a corner marker, then catch up to the leader again. When Bern and I ride we have this understanding that in some interesting twisty bits, I'm allowed to go a bit quicker - and then I will wait for her to catch up. Well done. I'm so impressed!

HOUSE-TO-BE said...

Ditto from Perry, well done. Sounds like a great life actually and no doubt when Summer returns you'll have some lovely days out on the road.

A long time ago oh about 17 years actually I started taking bike lessons. Then I found out I was pregnant so stopped. Always said one day I'll get back to it. I really enjoy reading your entries about it all.