ROTL 2013 Diary Entry

DAY 1

So, Day One perhaps the longest and hardest day of my life.People had tried to warn me, but would I listen ?I could go on about the beautiful scenery, the thrilling climbs, the camaraderie BUT that is nothing to the numbing pain and I will be honest with you, the utter boredom, the monotony of it all.I have taken gels, electrolytes, volatrol and nurofen cocktails, but none of it does what is says on the tin !I should have taken that cushion with me, I got what I deserved in the end, or my END anyway.Right now the thought of going on fills me with dread, some of the other lads are the same but male bravado means they won't admit to it.Iron Mike Teague seems to be more like Mickey Mouse, Peter Winterbottom who never showed any pain on the pitch is a shadow (albeit a large one) of his former self. Roger Uttley is weeping as I type this.Still as Jim Telfer once said this is our Everest, this is when you have to dig deep. But I can tell you, it's hard, so hard but I won't give in yet, all that training and dieting wasn't for nothing.Tomorrow is another day, and I will survive.So that's it for now folks and there will be more to follow I promise you.Anyway I can't wait until the ride actually starts on Sunday now, today was all about the flights and the dangers of flying cattle class but it's over, I made it.

 

Well after watching the Lions throw the ball around and play some exciting rugby (!!) and lose on Saturday night we all decided to have an early night and get ready for the first day's cycling.Alas beer got in the way.So 4-5 hours' sleep (less for some) later, we all donned our figure hugging lycra and headed for breakfast.Then fully porridged up we set off as 27 riders, 3 support vehicles, 3 masseuses and several hang overs.I will send out the detailed stats when back in blighty (to those who want them) but we covered 97 odd miles in 5 hours 53 min (average 16.6 mph).We stopped at a lot of lights (see London riders you are allowed to do that) as we left the City, which slowed us up.Then the pace picked up as we hit the outback but we stuck together with different riders take the lead.60 miles before lunch, once minor crash, one bad case of feeling tiredy (neither involved Gore Senior) but Junior on the other hand is a different matter but don't tell Mum.My personal sense of achievement at doing my 2nd longest ride ever was over shadowed by the sheer will-power it took to cycle past 6 drive-thru McDonalds without stopping !The real test comes when I try and do it all again tomorrow (and the next day, next day, next day etc).

 

DAY 2

The end of Day Two, 103 miles average 17.6 mph, not much fun to be honest.We did 80 miles before we stopped for lunch to "break the back of it" and to make the "afternoon ride easier". NOT.Points of note, we passed a dead kangaroo, 3 dead wombats, a dead wallaby, a dead squirrel and a dead snake. We had one crash today but not into any wildlife.Other things to note, don't let Roger Uttley the fittest 63 year old ever, lead you out after lunch on an "easy" 25 mile ride !He has no off button, "slow down Rog" falls on deaf ears, even with me whinging and whining like a goodun' in the middle. Half the time I was shouting for me, half the time for the riders behind me. Maybe it's because of his terrible wind, maybe he had somewhere to be ?Anyway we are about a third of the way there, with some hilly days to come apparently, deep joy !If I make day 3 you will hear from me again.

 

DAY 3

Day 3 is over, thankfully.83 miles all before lunch, average 15.5 mph, 1505 metres of climbing and hard bloody work.Big Rog was not allowed on the front until the big hills but he was given a hand break to keep him in check (yours truly).Not quite King of the Mountains, but feeling stronger and even dabbled with an energy gel for the last 20 miles !Another dead kangaroo and wombat on the way. We arrived in Cann River for a plate of spag bol at 2pm.No more riding today, but same again tomorrow.Sun finally came out and no crashes but Tyrone Howe's chain snapped.Saw out first sign for Sydney which was nice, but 656 km was not so nice.A demain as they say.

 

DAY 4

The longest day so far, we started at 7.30am and finished at 5pm !Stats 101 miles in 6 hour 52 mins riding, average 14.7 mph, max 40 mph, 2900 m climbing.Loads of long bloody steep hills !Nice lunch in Eden (pic attached).No crashes today.Andrew Heath aka the Ox managed to mix up savlon and deep heat and should now be called HotbollOx.We did see wild kangaroos and wallabies for the first time.We are now in Tathra for the night which is on the coast and seems nice.We start at 7am tomorrow which has upset the troops and means being changed and ready for breakfast at 6am.Over half way and maybe even getting stronger.Looks like Gatland is thinking about his next but one game ie managing Wales with his selection for Saturday's deciding Test Match.

 

DAY 5

End of Day 5 and we have arrived in Batemans Bay.96 miles in 6 hour 40 mins average 14.3 mph and 2700 m climbing reflecting the never ending hills ! Julia Andrews would have been in her bloody element.We started at 7am and in some of the hollows there was ice on the road and wooden bridges.The lunch stop was at 72 miles which was far too long a morning.Saw some amazing coastline at last, huge bays with rolling breakers, shame we weren't allowed to stop and take pictures or have an ice cream.I made the front page of the local paper, well Warwick Waugh did, and I was walking past so made it on with a name check. Will be in the sports loo at home ASAP never fear.My knees hurt most of the day as does the under carriage and the spirit is waning as you look up to see yet another hill.We have 3 massueses with us who generally hurt me every afternoon at 5.30pm but without them I doubt I'd make the next day.The end is in sight now, it's probably only over the next hill or so.

 

DAY 6

Ok end of day 6, stats first only 60.5 miles today in 3hrs 42 mins of riding, average 16.1 mph, fastest 42.4 mph, 1500 m climbing.We started the day with a 6am breakfast then 2 hours on a coach to take us to Bundanoon where we started the day.You can see Roger liked to be at the front and being pregnant decided to be "safe" and wear his helmet for added "protection".Then we had a fairly nice ride for a bit with brief mention of a hill but nothing too bad. We found a hill and it wasn't too bad and spirits were generally high.Oh dear, we then found a 2km hill from hell with a dog leg bend where you thought it was going to end but it then went on and on and on. Not a happy peliton. A few bailed then found it even harder to start again as clipping in was hard.But we all made it to lunch, only for a rumour to go round (via the support crew) that Kent (quite an apt name if read the right way!?!) the organiser had 2 ways to go and decided to go the "hill" way.This has been passed round the boys and the fines session will not go well for dear Kent. Revenge is a dish best served cold and it will be served at Randwick Rugby Club on Sunday in double helpings !My left knee is playing up now as my knee cap is tracking left but I am not one to moan (much) and I got some treatment at lunch which saw me home.Anyway we are now in Wollongong and close to Sydney.Some of you are expecting some dramatic weight loss for me from this trip (and so was I) but there is no way this is going to happen. They feed us all the time here, big breakfasts and food and drink stops all the time.Constant bananas, muesli, biscuits, jelly beans, jelly snakes, sour snakes, energy gels with gatorade on tap all day. Then big lunches and big dinners. Mark "booster" Carr is also supplementing his day with 4-6 Cadbury Boost Bars every day. There is no truth in the rumour he bought them as he thought they were an energy bar !Other things I have missed (sorry I was too tired to include much yesterday) Mike Teague burst his front tire (can't think why), and Warwick (6ft 10, 20 stone ex Wallaby) Waugh's nickname is "Drobe", prizes for anyone who knows why.Gary Allison had a tricky moment at lunch when he asked one of the boys if their bib shorts were also causing them trouble. "Not really why?" was the reply. "Just here at the neck" says Gary, "let me see!" to find out Gary was wearing them back to front ! Non-cyclists will need to look up bib shorts here.Anyway more to follow tomorrow.

 

DAY 7

We finally made it to sunny Sydney.61.6 miles in 4 hour 11 mins at an average 14.7 mph, fastest 39.5 mph.No more cycling for me! QBE hosted a drinks for us on their roof terrace over looking the Sydney Harbour Bridge, spirits very high.Only one crash when Mike Gore face planted at the Hotel reception as he rode into the kerb !Full de-brief tomorrow hang over permitting.Come on the Lions !

 

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