Sunday, 26 June 2011

Hell on wheels - Melburn Roobaix 2011

Well after surviving Hell on wheels yesterday, I was back on the bike to spin the legs in the Melburn Roobaix run by Fyxomatosis. For more pictures, click here. People and bikes of all shapes and sizes turned up with a single goal, to have fun. Hitting the first section of cobbles gave me respect for the pro riders who undertake the Paris to Roobaix every year. It was rough going on my road bike, but for me riding a mountain bike is worse than cheating. It wasn't long before the cobbles took its first victim right behind me with calls of rider down becoming fainter as I pushed on.
The ride took us from the Hawthorn velodrome up through Kew, past Northcate, via the edge of Moonee ponds finishing with a lap on the Brunswick velodrome. Bikes varied from tried and true road bikes, mountain bikes, Melbourne share bikes, a 3 person bike and one poor sod wearing a kilt on uni cycle. Unfortunately, I now know the answer to the question of what do Scottsman's wear under their kilt. There was also a man dressed up like cat woman which I still don't quite understand, but I think it may have been a S&M thing.

Besides from the challenge of the cobbles, the other main challenge was working out where to next using the  map and finding some of the entrances to the obscure alleys. At the top of one of the crucial cobbled climbs, the feed station consisted of Hershies chocolates handed out to all riders brave enough to remove a hand from the bars while on the cobbles. I was glad the majority the ground was dry as the few wet cobbles had many similarities to ice skating. 

On the 12th and final cobbled sector, the 1km to go sign suddenly appeared and the pace kicked up a notch with the smell of the bbq nearby. As we fought our way through the crowds and onto the velodrome, the time was nearing on 3 hours for a mere 40km ride. But this was no ordinary ride conquering some of Melburn's greatest cobbled back alleys.

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