So this weekend we stepped it up a bit in terms of prep for the IBR with a 1000km day ride to Bermagui and home again… The Far Rides are always a great get-together for the LDR community in Australia and a bit more achievable for those of us who don’t always get a kick out of the 1600km IBA rides.

As usual, it wasn’t a great lead-in for either of us with busy weeks at work. But we got a decent night’s sleep in on Friday and then hopped out of bed at 4am (or 3.30 if your name is Kiwi) to get going.

We rolled out of Neutral Bay, onto the Harbour Bridge and then out towards the M5 at about 4.40am and TBH I have very little memory of most of the first 1.5 hours of the ride. I know we went through the M5 tunnel and that we ended up near Picton at some point but mostly I was just dozing on the back. Not exactly asleep but certainly not what you would call ‘awake’…

Breakfast was at Berry, a cute little town in the Kangaroo Valley – and the coffee and sustenance was much needed. A loo break and then onwards where I managed to keep my eyes open for about an hour and then drifted off again until about 9am. We had diverted over Berry Mountain and then back to the Princes Highway and as we were ahead of schedule when we got to Cobargo, we fuelled up, had another toilet break and then proceeded down to Bega before returning for the 12 noon check in.

Things got a little interesting about 30kms out of Bermagui when the gear shift lever decided to go awol somewhere along the road and Kiwi tried to rear-end a car turning right because he couldn’t shift down a gear… I was not super impressed, but he managed to get us to Bermagui unscathed where we did some running repairs on the bike involving a 6mm shifting socket and a couple of cable ties!

I hadn’t registered for the ride (preferring to keep the pressure to a minimum) but Kiwi checked in, we socialised for about an hour over lunch with some friendly and familiar faces (LTP, Fatman, Ollie, Derrick, Liz, Crappy, Vlad, Gags, Hackle, Craig, Ian and more) and got back on the road again.

Initially our plan had us going up Brown Mountain to get the requisite kms up, but with our detour to Bega, we could head back to Batemans Bay and up Clyde Mountain instead. It was at this point over lunch that I started giving a new app (recommended by Nadine Huval) called ‘inRoute’ a workout. It does similar things to Google Maps, but with the advantage that it caches your route so you can access it even if you don’t have a mobile signal. It was a winner.

We headed home via all the ‘Bs’: Batemans Bay, Braidwood, and Bungendore – then back out to the Federal Highway and home via the Hume.

With roughly 300kms to go I was not a happy camper and the late afternoon head games were in full swing. My butt hurt, I was on the warm side and the thought of doing this day on steroids and then multiplying it by 11 to do the IBR was beyond what I could consider. How am I going to pull this off?

We paused at Sutton Forest to refuel the bike and ourselves and I took the opportunity to stretch my legs out and get some food in. That last 150kms was looking mighty unattractive.

We ordered home delivered dinner on the way and had just jumped out of the shower when my mum and dad arrived bringing home our puppy dog from a big play day. By the time I hit bed at 8.30pm, I was done. And I was (again) questioning whether the IBR was really my thing.

So what did I learn yesterday?

  • You need to start big rides well-rested.
  • High-quality nutrition is important – for me, this means lean protein and lots of vegetables/salad, not carbs and sugars
  • Long rides without a puzzle to solve are really hard for me. I need the bonus-gathering and routing options to keep my mind busy
  • Podcasts help. When Kiwi’s comms battery died I listened to some ‘West Wing Weekly’ which took my mind off things and made the distance feel easier. We need to find a way that we can listen to things but still talk to each other when needed/wanted.

I’m still working my way towards that IBR. It’s going to be one of the biggest personal challenges I’ve ever set myself, and I will need to be really clear about my boundaries and when I need to just take 10 minutes to regroup, but I still want to give it a red hot go. I feel a lot better about things today than I did this time yesterday, but it doesn’t mean I think this is going to be an easy thing to do.

This afternoon we’ve spent a reasonable amount of time playing around with routing software – how to get bonus point coding out of excel and into gpx files, how to get gpx files to show up on inRoute, and how to waste as little time as possible on the things that add the least amount of value to our ride. More on that later.

Next week we head to Phillip Island for the Superbikes – and more stories for sure!

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