By Bruce Greenhalgh
I’m sure I wasn’t alone in checking out the weather forecast in the lead up to the Velogaine. A week out from the event the predictions were dire and all my checking and hoping didn’t improve things as Saturday neared. On the day, my concerns look set to be realized as the rain arrived as we prepared for the start. I had contemplated an event where I’d be cold, wet and suffering for four hours, but shortly after the start the rain stopped and it stayed fine, with the weather gods, surprisingly, delivering ideal conditions. It was to be a Velogaine remembered for what the weather didn’t do, instead of what it did do.
So, I didn’t get cold and wet, but I still suffered. My cycling form in recent times has ranged from pretty ordinary to pretty awful and as we embarked on the climb up Pennys Hill Road to the range heights it was clear to me that I was on a ‘pretty awful’ day. That might not have been such an issue if my partner, Kerstin, and I weren’t such an ‘odd couple’. Kirsten is so much faster than me (even on my good days) that it’s embarrassing. She sailed up the hill while I cursed every pedal stroke. Kerstin is, though, a novice when it comes to route planning and navigation so that’s where I could contribute. Our pairing wasn’t so much a coincidence of talents, but a combination of them, an exercise in synergy. Importantly, our event mindset remained on par throughout the Velo.
What did the recent ‘Woodside Wheelers’ Velogaine have to do with an imminent zombie apocalypse? Rogaine tragic Bruce Greenhalgh explains…
Strange Day, Indeed
I’ve watched enough horror films to know that the setting for the end of civilization as we know it, the zombie apocalypse, the invasion from outer space – that sort of thing – is usually a dark and foreboding night with, perhaps, mysterious clouds racing past an angry moon, or thunder, lightning, driving rain and howling winds. It almost always involves hints that something is terribly amiss: birds stop singing, dogs cower in corners and strange, unexplained things happen. And all this is accompanied by an ominous soundtrack that portends dire and cataclysmic events.
The ’Woodside Wheelers’ Velogaine provided a setting seemingly the antithesis of this. The event occurred on a fine, sunny day in the bucolic Adelaide Hills. There was but a breath of wind. The soundtrack, pre-event, was of excited chatter as great plans were made, the calling of greetings to friends and the happy sound of cycling shoes clicking into pedals. All was right with the world, or so it seemed, but as we velogained our way through four hours disturbing auguries and unnatural occurrences spoke of looming disaster.
Firstly, there was the totally inexplicable fact that even though we started and finished at the same point, we climbed more kilometres than we descended. I’m sure of it. A landscape gone mad! The south-east corner of the map was particularly warped in this respect. Were there any descents? Thinking hard I do recall a few brief, blissful moments when gravity was my friend, but the salient memory is of how interminable the climbs were. Riding from control 70 to 61 and then 50 each fresh turn in the road revealed yet another span of ascent and I began to doubt we would ever reach a summit. Would we end up in the climbers’ ‘death zone’? I certainly felt near to expiring.
To ensure you have a lot of fun at the Velogaine, we have compiled some handy resources to help you enjoy your time out on course.
Velogaines are a great way to explore our state, they are fun and challenging all at the same time! An incredible relationship-building experience and perfect for every age group and you can ride your bike! No walking or running on tired legs.