Sunday, August 09, 2009

Eric goes aero, and more bike playtime fun!

We had SUCH a fun ride today. The perfect way to get slowly back into it (apart from Okoroire, I haven't ridden Eric outside since before Wellington- and the only other bike I've ridden is an old hybrid!)

We started out with a wee warm up around the tank farm and marina, and I tested my new aero bars along Westhaven Drive. I quite like them, but they were much more comfy on the trainer at my fit yesterday than they were on the road, and the steering will take some getting used to.

Then we headed up College Hill. Phil was doing strength work today, so he was motoring on up in gears I can't even use on the flat, and leaving me well in his dust, but I felt pretty good on the climb, and I think part of that can be attributed to the higher seat. We rode down Richmond, which wasn't quite as fun as it was in the dark, but still made for pretty good riding. From Richmond, we rode along the back of Western Springs, not really planning anything, until Phil spotted another cyclist and we decided to follow him. We trundled merrily along behind them, then I realised where we were going. Dark blue cyclist got into his drops as we approached the "take this corner at 25" sign...

"Phil! I've just realised where we are. Hold on and I'll see you on the other side!"

We were heading down Old Mill Rd (I think...), which runs along past the zoo, and is one of the steepest, straightest, awesomest streets I have ever seen. Even mapmyride's hideously inaccurate escalation profile says it's over 20% at some points. It feels something like riding down the side of a building!

I took a deep breath, gritted my teeth and made the turn. My grip tightened, knuckles whitened, and my stomach dropped. It felt like sitting at the top of the Tower of Terror, waiting for the earth to drop out beneath me at any moment. I'd love to say that I hardened up and let go of the brakes, but, well, I kept a good hold on them, letting go occasionally and chickening out until I was safely near the bottom! Phil got to 76 kph, I think. It's definitely more fun descending when there are two lanes, the roads are good quality, and there are no switchbacks! (sorry Wellington, but somedays I don't miss you at all).

We followed dark blue man along Great North Road, and back up. Phil had a chat to him, compared speeds, and I convinced Phil to let me go down the hill again, so we repeated the wee circuit, before heading along Meola (normally great fun, but today was busy and windy, so not so much), out to Pt Chev and then back home via Westmere.

A good ride, with plenty of headwind and climbing to keep us honest, and some fantastic descending to make things fun. Riding in Auckland is badly underrated!


Aaron said...

Sounds pretty cool! I did a 10km run last year in pretty heavy rain that went down Old Mill Road. Its pretty steep alright.

Auckland is OK for riding the trick is to get decent low traffic roads.

Pip said...

That hill is very steep! I wouldn't ride down it without braking either ...

I conquered my own nemesis today - Makara from the Johnsonville side. Like everything I build up to being big and scary in my mind it wasn't even that bad. I definitely need to work on my cycling skills though. I really suck at cornering and so kept getting left behind through the valley.

Britt said...

Oh man! There's a huge hill here that I refuse to ride down without my hands firmly on the breaks, and it sounds tiny compared to that hill! Hills just freak me right out :)

Kate said...

Pip- OUCH! Good work! We're planning a mad hilly route in the Hunuas, and I am petrified!