Festive 500 Finale and next challenges

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Part 1 of my Festive 500 story can be followed here.

Rolling with my homies - Shane and SLane

Day 5 was determined by the wind. Shane is master at devising routes where we would work into the wind and come home with a tailwind.

The start of the fun bit of the route

The Devil's Kitchen loop was on the cards and has a few features that I find interesting. The tree lined climb up the back near Snake Valley, the kicker hills and steady gradients all suit me well.

A little bit of sand on the corners into the descent

Ripping skids along the bottom of the valley
We totalled 77.7km just 11.1km more than what the devil himself would do for that course.

Day 6 - Another Buninyong ride was on the cards and I found a backroad through Magpie (it's a place) that cancelled out a busy section of highway.

Mt Buninyong from another angle
We were plotting out the course for a nice roll out and about near the nationals official course.

We found Yendon No 2 Road and Wiggins Rd
There are some great roads less ridden out the back of Buninyong that roll and flow really nicely.

A shady section keeping things cool and green
A total of 73.4km on this day. My favourite part was coming down Eureka St at over 65kmph past some authorities that were busy doing their job on the streets of Ballarat.

Day 7 The wind had changed direction so there was a slight coolness to the breeze and we headed out to the windmills. There was a fatal error in Shane's route today that took us towards and past the piggery. The hot stench of the facility was bad riding past it, and when we thought it was over we found they were spraying the piggery water across the nearby fields making us wretch and try to pedal faster out of the downwind!

Old school and new school windmills
Shane showed me a new road just off the road we race around for Tour of the Goldfields that climbs up like steps to the home of wind farms. It was pretty gruelling, but rewarding when the view just kept unfolding around us. When we reached the top we were totally dwarfed by the wind farm to generate electricity that is not used to grind grain or pump water. It is pretty controversial in the region.

Hot morning out with Mt Warrenheip in the background

The morning warmed up and I was in need for an icy drink and had run out of water by the time we headed home. When we stopped at the Learmonth general store an old farmer had a chat to us about the wind farms and revenue that can be generated from hosting them on the land.

Where the temp is > 30 degrees I am on #teamfrozencoke
There was talk of lunch by Lake Wendouree, but I was hot, bothered and saw the new link road that headed straight home. We tapped out a steady pace and I got the QOM for the brand new segment on Strava. Total of 67.1km.

Day 8 was going to be a hot one and there was no escaping it. I needed 51km to finish off the challenge and I was determined. My old favourite loop around Mount Pleasant was on the cards and Sherpa Shane was good to go.

It had been months since I had been up the rolling climbs and it was a struggle, but I made it all the way and collapsed from the lack of cardio at the top of the final kick. Shane caught sight of a flash of red and blue as I caught my breath. We chatted to Brendan Canty about 2016 and the Nationals while I composed myself.

Trying to look composed while Shane and Brendan look cool

On the way home the heat got the best of Shane and I helped him back home via the 7-11 for an emergency Slurpee. It hit a top temp of 43!

Cambered climb carrying kegs
I really enjoyed having the time off work and structured rides each day, the challenge of consistency and partnership of reaching the end goal. It's such a great way to finish off the year with a mini training block and (for me) some base kms.

This sums up my #Festive500 HOT but stylish ;)
The Next Target

There are a few things I am looking forward to in the next 3 months.

1) The Nationals! I love going to watch all the events and this year will be hosting a recreation ride up around Mt Buninyong with BCWS on 9th Jan 2016. Check out the route here on Strava. I might be CX over a few barriers to get around the course but it should be great social ride with some flat sections for chatting and easy rolling turns.

2) Tour Down Under! I'll be taking the week off work to do 3 things I LOVE!
   a) Drive my car like a rally driver in the Santos Women's Tour
   b) Ride Rapha adventure rides in the hills (ok any rides in RADelaide hills are good)
   c) Drive the THULE parade car for the TDU

3) Racing again! I'm going to do a few events that I haven't done before for a bit of variety. Tour of East Gippsland is the first. This will be pretty hard going as I haven't raced anything in Victoria for over 7 months so getting up to any fitness standard will be tough.

The biggest thing on the horizon is the 2016 UCI World Cycling Tour Perth has been renamed to the Gran Fondo World Series. The qualifying event is in March so I will be back over to Perth for the Road Race. Come along and check out the course with me and qualify for one of the biggest events Australia is likely to see that all cyclists can compete in.

2016 should contain more of that winning feeling and less of the daily grind ;)
Now I know you follow me for the bikes

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