The day dawned dull and overcast, and stayed that way, making it a perfect day for a long ride.
We tried to avoid the very early train ride from Wollongong by driving to Heathcote, arriving just on 8.am, we had our group photo taken and then joined the queue to start the ride.
Wrong! There were such huge numbers riding this year, that the police thought the roads were too congested and delayed the Heathcote start by an hour. We eventually started at 9.30am.
Heathcote start, a long wait!
Gary, Madison and Alan waiting.
Once we were away, things went reasonably smoothly, and the ride down into the National Park was, as usual absolutely beautiful, if a little scary.
Once down the hill, the ride along to Cedar Flats, the official lunch stop is delightful. This year a team of Superheros rode “superhero bikes” and could be seen well above the crowd.
Superhero on a Superbike!
However this did leave the superheros open to attack from above….
Magpie repellent is very impotant if you are head and shoulders above the crowd!
Superhero or not!!
At Cedar flats we amazingly ran into Caroline, Jim and Richard, who rode with us last year as well as Cameron, a friend of Hugie’s.
A rest stop after the long climb up to Stanwell Tops gives a photo opportunity with BARBUG and a view down to The Sea-Cliff Bridge
The ride down to Coal cliff and across the Sea-cliff bridge is steep both up and down.
Official photographers from Top Shots Photography took photos as we crossed the Sea-Cliff bridge and again at Sandon Point. The photos were very good, but unfortunately SO expensive at $49.00 for each digital shot, that this year I again declined to buy. I’m sure if they sell photos at a smaller dpi, at a reasonable price (like sport-pix.com) they would sell many more photos. With 14,000 people riding, that has got to be profitable!
Once we were on the bike paths on the Coast of Northern Wollongong we knew we were nearing the end, although the last few kilometres always seem very long!
The Duck at Thirroul
After finishing we had a beer and sausage sandwich at the Surf-Life club. John caught the train back to Heathcote to get the van. Unfortunately he just missed one and had to wait an hour. The train he caught did not stop at Heathcote, so he got off at Waterfall and rode to Heathcote. We were finally picked up back in Wollongong at 5.30pm
A lesson learned – we will not try to buck the system again, but will go with the trains from Wollongong!
It was a great day, with the weather staying cool and very little wind.
Already MS has reached the target of 1.7 million dollars.
Congratulations to everyone, the organisers, ESPECIALLY all the friendly volunteers, and all those who raised so much money for a wonderful cause!