DUBBUG ride report
25 March 2013
The Nambucca Century – Nambucca Heads to Crescent Head and return is 160km, or 100 miles. For recreational cyclists this is a long ride, but the riders who participated did themselves proud. A ride of this length on a hot day is not easy with heat exhaustion and dehydration an ever present threat.
President George, unable to cycle due to his recent back operation, still had to participate so he drove the support vehicle, providing water, gels and even, at one point an umbrella under which Steve repaired the only puncture of the day.
Bettyanne, Dave, Phil, Herb, Steve, Robert and Tim started at Nambucca Heads and Mike and Colleen joined them at Macksville for the ride south. The morning passed quickly in the cool, bright sunshine as the riders powered on towards Crescent Head.
This was the best part of the day’s cycle. Still fresh, the cyclists enjoyed the flat terrain along the small scenic river, then through the Hat Head National Park to Crescent Head. However, a harbinger of the return ride was the growing intensity of the sun as the temperature accelerated towards thirty-three degrees.
Eighty kilometers had been traversed, so lunch was vital in replenishing energy stocks and hydration for the return ride of the same distance into what was a freshening head wind.
Our oldest rider Herb was the first to succumb to the trying conditions so he joined George in the support vehicle at Gladstone. Colleen too, after 100 kilometres, and very little preparation training, wisely decided to join him. The rest of the group pressed on into the heat and the wind.
The human body can usually only absorb one litre of fluid each hour but can lose fluid at twice this rate in the heat and wind. As the kilometres accumulated, the sun beat down mercilessly and the head winds sapped moisture from every leaky pore. Dehydration threatened to claim more victims.
Robert, at seventy-three, was showing amazing resilience as was Dave for whom cycling is a sporadic pastime. Tim found keeping pace with the indefatigable Phil too much effort and soon had to reduce speed. Mike found new energy in the closing stages and moved up in the standings to finish just behind Phil in Macksville.
Bettyanne, Phil, Steve, Robert, Tim and Dave, who continued to Nambucca Heads, can feel justly proud of completing the Nambucca Century in very trying conditions.