Tag Archives: HBF

I survived the 60km HBF ride

Getting there

It was an early start – we had agreed to meet up at a friend’s house at 5.30am so we could drive in convoy down to Kwinana.   It was still dark and I forced myself to eat some Nutri Grain, part of an energy bar, have a banana and drink some energy drink before I left.   It’s not fun forcing yourself to eat when you’re half asleep, but I knew I needed the energy later on. 

On the drive down, I was thinking, “It’s taking ages to drive down here, you mean I have to cycle this plus go up to Joondalup?”.   The further it took to get to the starting point, the more anxious I got about how long 60kms really is. 

We eventually got to the Kwinana train station and there was a major buzz in the air.  I was starting to feel good about signing up for this.  Yes, I’m part of a whole bunch of other fit people!  Does that mean I’m fit?  Are there people in this group who will struggle like me to do the 60km? 

Gathered at the start line

We nudged our way to the start of the C group and waited patiently to give the earlier groups some distance.

The ride


And then suddenly the eight of us in our group were off!  And at an extremely fast pace!!  Too fast really… wayy too fast.   I started to get worried..  I was struggling to keep up now, how would I ever last the distance? 

After around 10kms, I decided, that’s enough, I’m peeling off and doing my own pace.   And luckily eventually so did some others in the group and so I rode with them for a while. 

Before I knew it, I was going over Mt Henry bridge and could see the city on the horizon.  Had I come this far already?  It’s basically half way!  And having cycled to/from Mt Henry bridge before, this was familiar territory.  The riders seemed to bunch up into the city and soon I was in the middle of a 100-strong peleton and it felt great!   We were moving as one big mass towards Mitchell Freeway. 

And I saw some familiar faces!  The team I was with had stopped at the Charles Street turn off to wait for us!  So we teamed up again and it was so much fun.   But I wasn’t starting to get knackered and so didn’t really put my time in at the front of the pack.  But this stretch from 35-45kms was most enjoyable, riding 38-40 km/h in a group. 

But problems struck at the 10km to go mark.   My right calf started getting a cramp.  Argh!!   What do I do?   Should I stop and stretch it out and wait until it’s better?  Or just bear the pain and keep going?  I shouted the rest of the boys that I have to drop off because of my cramp (and because I was soooo tired by now) and tried to stretch my calf and ride slower.  I drank the rest of my Gatorade, ate the rest of my energy bar and said to myself…  “10kms?  That’s my commute to work.  I can do this.”   My speed dropped down to about 25-30 km/h.

Speed over the 60km ride

Yes, so I thought, until I saw the hill.   Whoever designed the freeway decided to put a big hill leading up to Joondalup!  Well, OK, wasn’t the freeway designers fault…  but it was not welcome!   I really had to reach to the bottom of my energy barrel and push on..   after all, it’s too late to stop or turn around now! 

And then there it was – the finish line!   I did it!   Here we are gathered at the end of the ride – 

Finished 60kms!

Final time was around 1 hour 48 minutes, which is an average speed of around 33 km/h. 

To finish off the morning, I got to be part of the amazing squeezing in of bikes and riders onto the train back to Perth.  

Squeezing bikes onto the train

5 days until HBF Freeway Bike Hike

OK…  it’s nearly here.

On the weekend, I went riding again with my friends and they pulled me on a 60km ride up to Kalamunda!

I really was NOT looking forward to this.  It was just some voice in the back of my head yelling, “It’s too far!  The hill is too steep!  You’ll die!”…  or more like, you’ll fall off your bike and puke!

I just had a mental block that I would not be able to make it to the top.

Well, we were cycling along past Guildford and along Helena Valley Road.  No problems yet.  My friend tells me that it’s coming soon.  My stomach starts to turn with nervousness. 

We turned right at the roundabout into Ridge Hill Road and suddenly it’s on.  The slope just starts, the fitter guys are pulling away ahead, I feel my legs struggling and I wonder why I didn’t just stay at home in bed with Wifey.

I see the slope ahead flatten out a bit and I push myself to reach that part…  yes did it! 

But then my friend points out people further up the hill and I think to myself, “WTF!?!?  Are we going up there?”.

We turn left onto the Zig Zag Scenic Drive and surprisingly, even though we’re still ascending, it’s not hurting as much.  I’m assured that the cafe is very close.

Well, it WASN’T!  

We just keep on going up and up.  I’m really starting to hurt now.  But I’m thinking, “I can’t turn back now!”.

And then we’re suddenly on tarmac again, my friend still insists the cafe is close, but he’s been saying that for the last 5kms!  I don’t trust him anymore but put my body into overdrive.

And then it’s there!  The French cafe, Le Paris Brest, where we scoff down delicious fruit tarts and coffee.

The great reward is the ride down with amazing views and speed that I’ve never felt before on a bike.  Then we’re in single file riding back towards Guildford pushing 35-40kms/h and I finally experience the thrill of a road bike peloton.

60kms later, I’m still buzzing (probably from the energy drink that I normally don’t have) and thinking I can do more…

All good for the HBF ride this Sunday.  At least I now know I can do the distance. Although we won’t be stopping for coffee and cakes half way, at least there isn’t a massive hill to climb up!