I've been riding about with some friends lately, and Terry and I had an impromptue (sp?) race down a road near West Head a few weeks back. Not against each other per sae, but against the speedo.
We just had to break the magical 60KPH barrier ! A difficult task where we were, given not much road ahead of us and a very sharp turn at the bottom with the possibility of high speed traffic comming at us as well.
We missed out by mere umteenths !
Now, I've hit 60 a couple of times on the roads between home and work (Mona Vale Rd) and we began speculating about the 'mythical 70 kph barrier'.
So here's the scenario...
Yesterday I had planned to ride to work (37km takes just under 2 hrs) and had gotten up early to be greeted by a fantastic dawn.
Cycling through Palm Beach, Avalon, Newport (up the hill) and Mona Vale went well. I was feeling good and sporty !
Up Mona Vale Rd now (the really big hill), granny-gear and plenty of time to think about life, my place in the universe, methods of sending voice underwater using pulse coded modulation techniques, oohww don't ride up and over that little milliede! etc etc etc, and past the road works and 'the temple' (or House of Worship as I belive it is now called).
All is well. I'm still feeling good and sporty !
Down the other side.!
Keep in mind here reader, I usually do not go anywhere near as fast as the cars down here. So I stay pretty much on the shoulder as best I can. Also trucks and buses tend to 'sway' onto the shoulder just to make life hard for cyclists. (must have something to do with air flow and venturi effect!)
The width of the shoulder at the top of the hill is a very comfortable 'coupla meters' or so but it gradually narrows as you reach the bottom of the hill. Down to probably only 50cm or so wide at that point, although from my vantage point and speed it feels more like 5cm. If I dared to, I could probably touch both the armco and the passing cars at the same time !!! Usually the shoulder of the road at this point is several cm deep in loose leaf litter, gravel, broken glass, dead animals (I kid you not!) and strange inexplicable pieces of broken and squashed machinery.
Never the less, bolstered by my own good progress so far, and the excellent weather, (I'm still feeling good and sporty !), I siezed the opportunity to pump hard from the top and tuck close all the way down. Surprisingly the shoulder was clear of 'shite' for a change, and I managed to hold the tuck, tongue hanging out stylishly to the right, flapping in the breeze and knobby tires screaming all the way to the bottom, instead of bailing out to my usual, more 'defensive' riding position.
I was passing cars !
As I reach about half way down the hill, an old green 4WD Landrover I was about to pass, towing a colapsable camper trailer braked hard, dipping and swaying for no visable reason. The ensewing distruption to the traffic quickley rippled through to my own navigation and guidance system (ie. brain) and caused a temporary but possibly lethal shift in focus, as my primary guidance system (ie. eyes) instantly zoomed from a scan range of say 50m-100m or so, first to the swaying trailer 2m on my right, then next to razor sharp railing half a meter on my left, and then, in a fit of CPU overload, involuntarily locked on the ground imediatley in front of me.
For several milliseconds, almost everything in front of me was a surprise. Appearing and dissapearing before me at well over 60kmph! With an audible grunt, a quick shot of adrenaline (presumably caused by my sphincter) unlocked my frozen eyes, rebooted my brain and managed to restore order. My tongue relaxed again sufficiently to resume flapping in the breeze, and to celebrate my near miss, I hunkered down lower across the bars and grinned harder into the wind and prepared for the transition to the hill on the other side.
Although I hadn't set out to break the 70 limit, I was astounded when I got to work and scrolled through the trip computer to see my recorded max !!!
I just had to let some people know !
(PS I had a couple of friends point out they clocked 80+kph... "in the dirt!!!"... during a race event recently ... I reckon that's easy ... try it with traffic doing 80 right next to you on one side and a guard rail whizzing past your knee on the other !)
Been having a blast on the MTB latley and had great plans for mech. upgrades, but a few crashes latley and now I'm thinking "maybe body armour instead !!" ...