It was a fresh but clear morning out at Belgrave, with a bit of a cold wind but it was better than the rain over the week. In any-case the 1st few pinchy climbs out of Belgrave got everyone warmed up, apart from a few navigation issues early on people seemed to find their way pretty well. The tough climb up Jacksons Hill rd was rewarded with great views North and South of Ridge road (see the pics below) and a great bit of suburban single track along that everyone enjoyed even if they walked it (least that's what they said).
Well, Night Grinder 2 is only a week away. Next week, on Friday 13th, you should be charging your lights, filling your bidons and maybe having a quick nap after dinner before making your way out to Hurstbridge for an all night dirt road ride. Crazy? No! It's the most sensible thing in the world and I personally can't think of a better use of time than going for a spin at night and trying to see wombats.
49 riders took off from Hurstbridge Station on a cloudy but mostly rain-free day - great riding weather, not too hot, not too cold. The send-off speech heavily emphasised the 50km option and I was glad to hear that many riders chose the 50km and enjoyed the hell out of it. At rego time, 28 riders said they'd try the 100km, 18 said they'd try the 50km and a couple were undecided. There were a few DNFs and a few shortcuts taken by those who knew the area but, as long as everyone had fun, no rules were broken.
Ok, recon ride is complete and cue sheets are being finalised. There's only one week to go so let's talk options.
We're offering this ride in two flavours :
100km - for people with a whole day to spend 50km - for people with less time up their sleeves
For reference, we took about 7 hours to do the full 100km on our recon ride. That includes a bit of faffing around and a sit-down lunch at Toolangi Tavern. 6-7 hours would be a fair estimate of how long it might take you to do the full 100km.
If you plan on riding hard and aren't scared of a bit of climbing, revise that estimate down. If you're planning to take it a bit easier or if you've got commitments straight after the ride, I'd seriously consider the 50km option.
The 50km is still a great route, it's got some solid climbs and screaming descents, it's got some incredible views of the Yarra Valley and visits some awesome roads but it will have you back in Hurstbridge a good few hours before the 100km option. Both options are solid rides in and of themselves but the longer option may have you in the middle of the bush by yourself after dark if you discover, too late, that you're over-committed.
No need to decide right now - you can leave it 'til about kilometre 30 on the route before you have to decide which way to go - so see how you're feeling on the day, be honest with yourself and make sure you ride within your limits. That way we'll all have fun!
Remember to watch out for friendly goats, curious alpacas and, my favourite, goofy lyrebirds. We saw two lyrebirds on our recon ride - that's some good juju right there!
Oh, and remember, it's on the Saturday this time. Saturday 26th, 9:00am, Hurstbridge Station.