I always intended to ride the UrBAYn Assault slowly but surely. I was going to use most of the 13:30 time limit and enjoy some cool evening riding. What I intended and what eventuated were two very different things.
The UrBAYn Assault offered 100km, 150km and 200km options. Ten riders set off on the 100km ride while three of us tackled the 200km option in the summer heat. This isn’t a murder mystery, so I can tell you that all riders completed their chosen distances. I rode with a speedy Irishman and a rapid recumbrent rider who dragged me along with them to complete the course in just under 9 hours (8:59), which is my fastest 200km by about half an hour.
It was 60km to checkpoint 1. Most of it followed major arterial roads that are bursting at the seams with traffic from Monday to Saturday. But Sunday morning saw them eerily empty. It made for fast and pleasant riding. We zipped along at an average speed of 30kph while getting to know each other a little (none of us had met each other before). I have to say that I was happy to see the beach at Jacobs Well after riding so quickly. We checked in at the takeaway and tackle shop just 6 minutes after the CP officially opened.
After a quick stop to eat ice blocks and fill water bottles, we were off again. The second stage of the ride took us through sugar cane fields with wide views to the mountains of the Gold Coast Hinterland. I don’t mind admitting that I was pleased our ride wasn’t going anywhere near them; especially not at the pace the others were riding.
After spending some time in the hot exposed cane fields, we rode between the hobby farms and acreage outside Beenleigh and then on to the roads in my local area. The recumbrent drew lots of attention and one lady even slowed her car to take a photo or video of it being ridden down the road. The boys towed me along as much as they could, but at about 115km I lost touch with them and spent the next 15km riding alone through the rolling hills of Redland Bay. It didn’t worry me though – I was just enjoying the ride.
I arrived at CP2 (130km) about 5 minutes after the others. We all ate burgers and ice blocks washed down with cold drinks in the shaded garden outside the Rock n Roll Takeaway. It felt good to rest a while from the sun’s harsh rays (have I mentioned yet that it got up to 36’C/97F during the ride?). Then, before I knew it, we were back out on the road with drink bottles filled and bodies fed.
The third stage of our ride followed the Moreton Bay waterfront from Victoria Point to Cleveland and Wellington Points before ending at Wynnum. It was a delightful 50km of cycling. Though, as I looked at the clear blue-green water of the bay, I wondered why I hadn’t taken up water sports.
I stopped at Wellington Point to stick my head under a water tap. I was starting to feel nauseated from the heat and was experiencing a mild headache. The water did the trick and, before long, I was once again riding with the other guys who had stopped a little way up the road to wait for me.
After the final checkpoint in Wynnum at the 177km mark, we all raced through urban streets to reach the finish. For some reason, we had decided to try to finish within nine hours. For those not familiar with Audax riding – the sport is not meant to be a race and the time limit for a 200km ride is 13:30. But the race was on and the adrenaline kicked in. The other guys made it to the finish five minutes before me. I just couldn’t keep up with them; though I did manage to keep just one or two red lights behind them most of the way.
After the ride, I was totally wrecked. I definitely pushed myself a lot harder than I intended to and broke through some mental barriers by riding at 26.4kph, rather than my usual 22-23kph. The ride organiser gave us each an icy cold can of soft drink before we went our separate ways again. I rode the short distance to the train station where I lay on the bitumen platform feeling decidedly stuffed until the train arrived. A half hour train ride and further 17km bike ride saw me arriving home at 6:30pm, 14 hours and 241km after I had left.
Total: 241.5km ride (201km was the Audax ride – I forgot to start Strava for a couple km, which is why the extract above is a few km short)