We didn’t plan it that way, but one of the longest rides we’ve done ended up being on the shortest day of the year, and with all the good food provided along the way it was a fine celebration of the solstice.
Five of us had a 7.30am start from Urunga, with the indefatigable Rayner cycling down from Sawtell to sit for a couple of minutes, then turn around and head back north with Rider Leader Phil, Mike, Colleen and Mark. These were the centenary cyclists who were aiming to do the 105km ride.
Those who were after a shorter cycle (55km) met in Coffs Harbour to await the first group, and enjoyed coffee and food at Dave S’s office west of the CBD.
The much larger group of 14 eventually headed north, to eventually end up in Woolgoolga. It was a fast trip up the highway once we had made it to the other side of the hill outside Coffs. The southerly wind was just starting to make a show and pushed us along so that we flew up the smooth tarmac to the Woopi off-ramp, with some of us reaching 42km/hour on the flat.
We took in the sights of Woolgoolga and then turned towards home and into what felt like a 20 knot southerly. After a few kilometres of slogging along with some of our riders struggling a bit, we took advantage of having a big group of riders to form a peloton with the stronger riders in front, which protected the riders in the back from pushing into the wind. Thanks to all you riders at the front who helped us out.
Our coffee stop was at Don and Michele’s house, and everyone collapsed onto their deck in the sun overlooking the ocean and ate and drank for so long they were probably wondering when we would leave. But the southerly was not getting any weaker and we figured we had better get going sooner rather than later. The returning group broke into two smaller groups, with the Coffs/Sawtell cyclists heading home via Hogbin Drive and the Urunga starters spending the next hour on the highway south.
And even though it was the shortest day of the year, we all managed to make it home before dark. Next week’s ride is an old favourite up to Bellingen and back via North Bank and South Arm. Join us at BP Urunga for an 8am departure. Rides go every Wednesday and Friday mornings at 8am from BP Urunga as well. Everyone’s welcome. For more information, see our website – www.dubbug.org.au