After last week’s exploration that ended in a Ferry ride, Betty and I decided to continue with the holiday theme. “How, about the beach?” I asked. “Absolutely,” Betty’s immediate reply. This presented a slight dilemma as the route to the West Coast beaches requires the ascent of a hill or two, something that Our Rider and MT try to avoid. Fortunately mapmyride.com helped us misinform the riders by showing the distance as 55km with a mere 430 metres of climbing, with a manageable gradient of around 5% (give or take).
Betty and I met at our usual place at the usual time and started the slog out on the false flat into a wind. “At least we will have a tail wind home,” I observed to Betty. “Yes, and no rain today,” Betty joyfully replied.
We started up the first climb with my Garmin showing a gradient of 9.8%, occasionally when it dropped to 6.3% it seemed almost easy. Yes by doing something more difficult, it makes what you did before seem easier. On reaching the top Our Rider declared, “I don’t remember it being that long.” Oh how time fades memory. “I think coca-cola at the beach will be on today’s menu,” MT, ever mindful of her cafe responsibility, commented.
We then entered one of the most pleasurable phases of the ride: a lovely descent followed by undulating country roads, where our ears strained to hear nothing as we rode in companionable silence. We were starting to wonder when we would arrive at the beach and a little anxious if there would be a cafe there to refuel the riders, then we saw it:
The had been very little traffic and yet when we stopped to purvey this sign a convoy of at least ten vehicles drove by. A little bit further down the road, we discovered their purpose. The vehicles were full of trampers out for a Saturday meander, a bit like Betty and I really. Except why walk when you can ride?
Slightly anxious Our Rider approached the parking area, concerned that the much promised cafe may not actually exist or be open. Fortunately this was alleviated when a converted caravan with food, chairs and tables appeared.
Two coca-colas, one double espresso and a chocolate brownie would hopefully provide the ideal mix of sugar and caffeine to ensure the success of the return journey. While relaxing the clouds dissipated and the sun appeared. There are few things sweeter than feeling the warmth of the sun on my frame. Betty’s Garmin told her it was 30 degrees!
After a quick look beyond the sand dunes to confirm that the surf was there it was time to return, via a slightly different route to avoid the very steep climb, that we had enjoyed riding down.
The route involved a climb that mapmyride had listed at around 4%. More like 8% reaching 10%. Still as I said before, “by doing something harder, it makes what you did before easier.” The coca-cola and coffee were definitely working as it should, with Our Rider and MT successfully powering us up the hill and then the next one. From then on it was a reverse false flat with a tail wind (as predicted) except for the cross winds, all the way home. “Yee Hah!”
With 65km ridden, 750 metres climbed and gradients reaching 10%, we certainly proved that mapmyride.com lies and Betty and I enjoyed a laugh at our deception. When we heard Our Rider and MT cheerfully chat about riding the Buttered Chicken on our next date we both did a bunnyhop in delight. We were most proud that over the past months we have cajoled Our Rider and MT into making such fine progress and reminisced of the time where we spent more time outside the cafe waiting than riding. We knew they would!