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Ridus Epicus 2011..Hawkesbury River Australia

January 19, 2012 1 comment

KanSignAustraliaSo one goal that I set for myself was to have more interesting and “epic” bicycle experiences. When I figured out I was going to Australia I decided that one day would be a wall-to-wall bike riding experience. Again here the web helped out. I knew it had to be close to Sydney (I didn’t want to spend my day driving) but still add a lot of variety. After a few hours of checking thru Garmin connect and other ride reports I came up with an out and back 100 km + ride along the historic Hawkesbury River west of Sydney.

 

My steed for this grand day was my Specialized Tarmac Elite. I had lugged it all the way to Australia from already winter weary Canada. We had done a wee ride in Melbourne, a sharp Mountain climb, a Triathlon and now we were going to be spending the day together.

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All decked out ready for a day of adventure

 

Below is the satellite view of the ride. While little of the ride is actually along the river, the landscape is up and around it, very varied, forested, and there are a number of nice hills and high gradient climbs.

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The middle part was a wee bit of a mountain at the end with a steep descent into the river valley (which I knew I would have to climb back up).  The elevation profile is below and since I didn’t see it until the end I realized that the first half was mostly up which made the return better.  In the middle I was riding along the river itself.

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Weather was mostly nice with one exception (more on that later).  Started out in a nice town place Windsor where I found a great parking spot near the main park. Saddled up and away I went.

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First part was along major roads and here there was a nice shoulder, which was nice compared to my last ride. Once interesting aspect of this ride was that I was going to have to cross the Hawkesbury river twice on a Free ferry which meant I also had some natural resting spots.  The first ferry crossing was at Sackville Reach. With all the forests, names (Old Northern Road, Wiseman’s Ferry Road) and ferry crossings felt a bit like I was in the Shire in the Lord of the Rings.

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1st Ferry Crossing

HawksburyRiverViewAfter the ferry crossing the ride went progressively higher. After a particularly long haul there was a nice lookout and I could see the Ferry crossing below. This was when I started to realize that I had been riding up for quite some time and a descent was in order.

By the looks of the data on my Garmin 500 it was about a 600 feet rapid sharp descent into the village. Really had to watch out with my speed but was tons of fun. Soon enough  I was in the village below and once more at a Ferry Crossing.

This crossing was exactly like the one before it, basically bikes were like pedestrians so you walked on board. This crossing was busy enough to have two ferries running so I didn’t have to wait very long. The Ferryman was very nice as well, telling me that the ferries would never be replaced as they were so historic and integral to the fabric of the region. Works for me and I hope he is right!

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Muddy waters of the Hawkesbury River at Wiseman’s Ferry

The next bit was along the Hawkesbury River and was pretty flat. Not a lot of traffic really since about 15 minutes outside of Windsor so a relaxing day from that point of view. This is where I figured I would have to turn around soon. You do a lot of mental arithmetic as you know that every km is an extra km on the way back. At around 55k I decided that at the next natural stop I would pull over, rest a bit then return.  Sure enough within a few kms there was a nice pull off spot.

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As far as I got on the Hawkesbury

It was also at this point that I noticed the sky wasn’t as blue as it had been before. I had to return along the same route, so I knew it would take a while, and now the weather had some surprises on offer. I headed back to the Ferry, crossed then stopped for lunch.

By this time I was very hungry and I needed to stock up. In Wiseman’s Ferry right next to the Ferry itself there was a burger shack. Wish I had taken a picture because it had a funny name which escapes me now. I asked for the “works” burger, two cokes and fries. It was messy affair but did the trick and probably nullified any fat burning I had been doing up to then!

Next up was back up the mountain. This had me worried. My legs had over 70km into them and I wasn’t sure I would be able to make it to the top without stopping. Gradients were over 20% in the corners. But in the end it wasn’t all that bad, I used my lowest gear and soon enough I was on top and the road started a general downhill slant. Would not have been able to do that a year or so ago!!

Then the skies opened up. I know few people who love riding in the rain like I do. I just love it. When the thunder and lightning started I was besides myself. It was a bit scary but fun and exhilarating. It lasted for about an hour until I reached the 1st ferry again. I was soaked, I was tired, I was happy! What else can you ask of an Epic Ride!

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Stormy weather coming to an end

The last bit I was in survival mode. Just need to get the crank over the top one more time, then again, then again. It seemed to take forever and I think about 10k from the end I wasn’t having fun anymore, but I knew I had to keep going. Finally the town of Windsor appeared and the car and I was so happy and grateful to have had such a great day. Can’t wait to see what my Epic Ride in 2012 is going to be like!!

Final Stats.

Distance:
115.01 km

Time:
4:26:39

Avg Speed:
25.9 km/h

Elevation Gain:
1,127 m

Calories:
1,928 C

Avg Temperature:
20.8 °C

Avg HR:
130 bpm

Max HR:
155 bpm

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